Celebrated Italian tenor Enrico Caruso once famously said that all that was needed for Giuseppe Verdi’s “Il trovatore” to excel were the four greatest singers in the world.

Lyric Opera of Chicago might not have fully delivered on that near-impossible formula in the second revival of the company’s 2006-07 co-production of the beloved Italian melodrama, but it came close enough with a dazzling cast of veteran and rising talents.

There were cheers aplenty as each of the four central cast members delivered one thrilling vocal turn after another, with stellar back-up from such supporting singers as bass Roberto Tagliavini, who made a striking Lyric debut as Ferrando, captain of the guard.
‘Il trovatore’
Lyric Opera of Chicago
When: 2 p.m. Nov. 25, 7 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 3 and 6 and 2 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker
Tickets: $39-$279
Info: lyricopera.org 


But as strong as the staging is, what really counts here, as suggested earlier, is the singing. Tenor Russell Thomas delivers an impassioned, technically secure turn in the title role of Manrico, the troubadour and rebel soldier who is in love with Leonora, the queen’s lady-in-waiting. He really comes on in the second half, especially in his Act 3 vow of devotion to Leonora, “Ah! si, ben mio.”