We asked a top tenor to guide us through an absolutely stonking Verdi aria

Epic tenor high notes are a rarity in Verdi operas, but when he does them, he does them very, very well.

Verdi's searing opera Il Trovatore has something for your eyes, ears and emotions. There's the epic, boisterous Anvil Chorus, a heart-stopping Miserere, and one of the most thrilling tenor arias is all opera, ‘Di quella pira’.

We went backstage at the Royal Opera House in London's Covent Garden to talk to star American tenor Gregory Kunde, who plays Manrico in this production, and belting out these incredible notes of ‘Di quella pira’. 

First up, we asked Gregory to set the dramatic scene for the aria.

What is happening at this point in the opera?

And how does Verdi use the music to set the scene?

Gregory talks us through the Italian composer's magnificent ability to conjure whole worlds in his music

This is one of the most famous arias ever written… so no pressure, right?

We asked Gregory what it's like to know that the whole audience is waiting to hear this tricky aria.


That's quite a build-up.

And, just like audiences everywhere, we wanted to hear those thrilling bel canto lines and epic top notes. And Gregory was only too happy to oblige. 

At the Royal Opera House, Gregory is joined on stage by Lianna Haroutounian and Christopher Maltman, all conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. If you fancy seeing it live, tickets are available here