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Met Opera Winter Encores - Rigoletto

Home > Brisbane > Film Reviews | Opera | Performing Arts | Theatre
by Helen Belli (subscribe)
I am now living in Kariong on the Central Coast
Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll

The story of a hunchback side kick to a 'Duke' top dog in Las Vegas in 1960 and his daughter, the over protected Gilda, who the 'Duke' goes to all sorts of trouble to seduce.

Except for Rigoletto and Gilda, the costumes are elegant and true to the period. She is dressed like a frump when the clothes in that period for young women were gorgeous.

The singers without exception bring the characters to life. Rigoletto [Zelijko Lucic] bought many to tears with his heart wrenching 'Cortigiani, vilrazza dannata' [bring my daughter back].

Gilda [Dianna Damrau] sings 'Caro Nome' perfectly, like the giddy young girl that she is, in love for the first time.

The 'Duke' [Piortr Beczala] is the Tenor, not only eye candy but captures the spirit of the Casanova that he is. 'Questa o quella' is delivered like the male chauvinist he proves to be.

In 'La donna e mobile' he changes his tune. Women float through life like feathers in the breeze, they are complicit in their own seduction. After the premier, Verdi notes that people were singing the tune in the streets.

Scarafucile [Stefan Kocan] is without doubt a dangerous killer employed by Rigoletto to kill the 'Duke'. In Opera very little ever goes to plan.

Verdi was commissioned to write an Opera in 1850. He chose to base it on the controversial novel written by Victor Hugo. The censors were on his back so he chose to tone it down, or no show. It is still one of the most performed Opera's in the repertoire today.

This was Michele Mariotti's debut conducting at the Met, adding drama to the exciting score, perhaps at times forcing the pace along too fast. Great flashes of neon lighting in act 3 added an extra dimension to the action.

Las Vegas is a place for sex, drugs and rock and roll. If you looked away, you might have missed the 'Duke' sniffing amyl nitrate.
The action was moved 400 years.

The traditionalists may not like the change of costume or the translation such as 'the place is full of good looking dolls', but in the end, it is the singing that is the most important element.

At the end of the Opera on opening night at the Lincoln Centre, the bravos drowned out the boos.

What will the verdict be in say 10 years?

It is becoming the fashion at the Met, to change the time frame for many Operas. Perhaps this will take it into the 22 Century.

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When: 2014 Met Opera Season
Cost: $25
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