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Director Alvis Hermanis on "Il trovatore"

9 AUG 2014

published in: Opera, General

Il trovatore 2014 • Anna Netrebko (Leonora), Plácido Domingo (Il Conte di Luna) © Salzburger Festspiele / Forster
Director Alvis Hermanis, who cannot imagine taking the story of Il trovatore out of its historical context, has set his production inside a museum – a place where the past has a very special existence and its own reality. Hermanis is particularly intrigued by the people who work in such a place as tourist guides or museum guards: “It is interesting to observe them, and one can only guess what goes on inside their heads. Listening to their descriptions of the paintings, it is not uncommon to realise how much they feel at one with the works under their care and the people depicted in them, how they identify with them or even fall in love with them. Our production of Il trovatore begins at the end of the day in a museum in an unspecified location. With the exception of Manrico, all the protagonists of the action are employed by this museum. First we see them during their daytime work until the museum closes and night falls. Then, realities begin to mix. Is it the pictures that come to life, or our protagonists, dreaming themselves back into the past? For me, the surfaces of the paintings still bear the reality of the time of their creation, even if – as in the case of the paintings in ‘our’ museum, 500 years have passed since. A museum hall is like a time machine which brings the past to life and awakens nostalgia in us for the history which is constantly disappearing. Just as Verdi focuses increasingly on the range of emotions, demonstrating the close connection between love and death, the actual plot no longer plays a role – the connection between space and time is dissolved.”     

Ronny Dietrich