Giuseppe Verdi's "Il Trovatore," perenially one of the most often-produced operas in the world, will open the Sarasota Opera's 2014 Winter Festival season on Saturday.
It's one of two Verdi operas in the season, which also includes the relatively obscure "Jerusalem."
The title character of "Il Trovatore" is Manrico, a troubadour. Both Manrico and Count di Luna are in love with a woman named Leonore, who loves only Manrico. When Count di Luna was young, his brother was abducted by a gypsy, and he has sought vengeance ever since.
A spectacular, melodramatic and operatic tale of love and death follows.
Count di Luna is often seen as the opera's villain, and Manrico as the "good guy," but it's not that clear-cut.
"All the characters in this opera have good and bad characteristics," said tenor Kirk Dougherty, who plays the title role. "It all about the decisions that they make."
More people go to opera for the music than the plot, though, and "Il Trovatore" has some of Verdi's best-loved melodies, including the "Anvil Chorus" near the beginning of the second act.
Besides the two Verdi works, the season also includes "The Barber of Seville" and "The Flying Dutchman."
Details: Feb. 8-March 22, Sarasota Opera House, 61 N. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota. Show times: 7 p.m. Feb. 8; 8 p.m. Feb. 8, 12, 22 and 27, March 7, 14 and 22; 1:30 p.m. Feb. 16 and March 2. Tickets: $29-$135. Call 941-8450 or go to www.sarasotaopera.org.
-- Marty Clear