In Il Trovatore, Giuseppe Verdi creates a world of secrets and fatal obsessions, in which four people are fatefully brought together and drawn to their own destruction. While the score is one hit tune after another, the most famous being the Anvil Chorus in Act I, the opera is a potent mix of passionate bombast and introspective psychology. No character captures the audience’s attention as much as Azucena, the old gypsy woman whose quest for revenge brings together the other three characters: her son Manrico, his rival the Count di Luna, and the woman they both love, Leonora. Family history and the battles that they inherit from their parents play a major role in the unfolding of the opera as secrets are revealed that force the characters to confront reality. One of Verdi’s most brilliant moments is in the fourth act when Azucena, imprisoned by the Count di Luna and half-mad with the fear of death, sings of her desperation. The orchestra subtly supports her with the reminiscences of her first aria, “Stride la vampa,” the story of when her mother was put to death by the Count di Luna’s father. The stories of the past and the stories of the present come together in one final moment of horrifying truth and inevitable destruction.