Port Talbot’s Adele Thomas directs Il Trovatore, Royal Opera

June 30, 2023 by


Port Talbot born Adele Thomas has won numerous awards in Wales, plaudits for work at the Royal Opera House and has a booking with Welsh National Opera to look forward to thus there is great interest for her first big stage work for the Royal Opera with Il Trovatore by Verdi.

This was a very intriguing production presumably based on the art works of Hieronymus Bosch with the stage littered with all sorts of strange beings, cavorting soldiers that look like the daft playing card soldiers out of Alice in Wonderland or animalistic figures that that support the hero of the piece the Troubadour.



All manner of ways of interpreting the work could be found. However, the best way is to simply sit back and enjoy it with most of our concentration rightly being on the singers and the quality of the orchestra with the conducting of Antonio Pappano in the pit. Thomas’ production does keep us visually entertained throughout however when it really matters it gives the singers the space and time to enable us to focus on them, there is little to distract.

Despite the title it is the women that that drive the drama. Rachel Willis-Sorensen as Leonora struggles to negotiate a path to the man she loves between the scheming of both Azucena and the Count and her vocals are shimmering and diamond sharp as she commands the stage – I am not sure why her antagonists are not more scared of her. But then she is up against the formidable Azucena sung with such assurance and force by Jamie Barton who is a powerful adversary driven by vengeance and with a physical strength to match her two guards and a vocal strength to display her rage and fury.

Gregory Kunde is an ardent and spirited Manrico and thrills in his vocals but never seems to be risking all to capture the woman he loves. It is the machinations of Ludovic Tezier as the Count di Luna to attempt to thwart the lovers but the real evil is left to Ferrando sung by Roberto Tagliavini in sinister voice accompanied by his feral and grovelling bull-headed servants cavorting at his feet.


Roberto Tagliavini


The opera opens with the widening snarl of the Aztec-inspired mask, perhaps Tezcatlipoca, the Aztec god of vengeance, and the theme of rage at the injustice of the ruling class meted out to the hammering workers and the fierce howling cry for vengeance and retribution drives the drama of this piece and that is Adele Thomas triumph in this production. Some minor irritations such self-propelled limbs and unnecessary choreography during the key dramatic moments are forgivable.




Main image: Jamie Barton


Until July 2


Images: Camilla Greenwell


Leave a Reply