|Libretto:||Salvatore Cammarano, based on the play by Antonio Garcia Gutiérrez|
|Premiere:||Rome, January 19, 1853|
The complicated melodrama of Il Trovatore revolves around the gypsy Azucena, whose mother was burned at the stake for bewitching the elder count di Luna's baby son. To revenge her mother's death, Azucena hysterically kidnaps the count's baby, then mistakenly casts her own infant son into the flames. Horror-struck, she escapes with the count's stolen baby and raises him as her own son, Manrico. As the opera opens, the younger count, Manrico's unknowing brother, jealously awaits the arrival of the mysterious troubadour who has captured the heart of the Duchess Leonora. The troubadour Manrico appears, and the two men fight a duel, unaware that they are brothers. When Leonora hears a rumor that Manrico has been slain by the count's forces, she vows to become a nun, but her lover, still very much alive, hastens to her side. The count's forces besiege the couple's hideaway, and old Azucena, wandering into the enemy camp, is sentenced to death. Trying to save his mother, Manrico is also captured and thrown into prison. Leonora desperately promises to marry the count if he will free Manrico, but when he agrees, she poisons herself, dying in her lover's arms. A furious count forces Azucena to watch her supposed son Manrico's execution, but the malicious gypsy has the last word, screaming that the count has killed his own brother.