Il Trovatore

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Il Trovatore ("The Troubadour") is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)[1].

The original text

The Italian libretto was largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El Trovador (1836), , a flamboyant and incident filled melodrama by Antonio García Gutiérrez (1813-1884)[2]. The opera had its premiere at the Teatro Apollo in Rome on 19 January 1853.

Translations and adaptations

Burlesque versions of Italian, French - and, later, German - operas became popular with London audiences during the second half of the 19th century. For example Verdi's Il Trovatore had its British premiere in 1855 as Ill-treated Il Trovatore by H.J. Byron (1835-1884)[3]. The text was published by T.H. Lacy in the 1850s.

A burlesque version of the opera (possibly Byron's version?) was apparently done by the Christy Minstrels (billed as Il Trovatore) in the 1860s, also performed during their South African visit in 1862.

Another burlesque version, called Il Trovatore Up To Date ("a burlesque in one scene"), was written and published by Alexander H. Laidlaw, Jr. in 1897.

South African performances of the Verdi opera

1869: Performed in the Mutual Hall, Cape Town by the Miranda-Harper Company.

Perfomances of dramatic adaptations and burlesque versions in South Africa

1862: A burlesque called Il Trovatore was performed by the Christy Minstrels, as part of their repertoire while touring the Cape Province between September and November.


Steven Huebner (Ed). 2017. National Traditions in Nineteenth-Century Opera, Volume I: Italy, France, England and the Americas (Volume 1), Routledge.[4]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 139-141.

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