Photo Flash: Lyric Opera of Chicago Presents IL TROVATORE

Lyric Opera of Chicago's production of Verdi's Il trovatoreopens Saturday, Nov. 17, at 7:30pm. There are seven performances November 17 - December 9 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Tickets start at $39 and are available now at or at 312-827-5600.

Lyric's Il trovatore boasts a terrific international cast of new and returning artists to play the vividly drawn characters in this hot-blooded tale of love, jealousy, and mistaken identity, and terrible retribution.

American tenor Russell Thomas is Manrico, the titular troubadour, while American soprano Tamara Wilson (Lyric debut) plays his love, Leonora. American mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton portrays the tortured gypsy Azucena, and Polish baritone Artur Ruci?ski (Lyric debut) sings the dastardly Count di Luna, who covets Leonora's affections. Serving as narrator for this twisted tale is Ferrando, sung by Italian bassRoberto Tagliavini (Lyric debut).

Conductor Marco Armiliato and the Lyric Opera Orchestra bring terrific collective experience to the thrilling blood-and-thunder score. The original director of this production, Sir David McVicar, has created a visually powerful production set in tumultuous early 19th-century Spain. Roy Rallo (Lyric debut) directs the revival, with set designs by Charles Edwards, costume designs by Brigitte Reiffenstuel, original lighting design by Jennifer Tipton, and revival lighting design by Chris Maravich.

The Lyric Opera Chorus, prepared by Lyric's chorus master Michael Black, sings one of the most famous pieces of music, the stirring and hearty "Anvil Chorus."

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