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Ensemble

Sordid Ferocity

'Rigoletto' at the Grand Theatre in Leeds, UK.
PATRIC STANDFORD at the revival of
last autumn's sensational production

 

Not everyone approved, but that's too bad, because Charles Edwards has directed a powerful production of Verdi's unremitting tragedy for Opera North [seen 12 May 2007], designing the lighting and set himself too, and his ideas have been transformed into memorable reality by an equally powerful cast and chorus. There was nothing quite like it when it first hit the Venetian audience with its sordid ferocity, for the comfortably sedate Teatro La Fenice (beside which you also may know a particularly fine restaurant!) became a venue for its shocking thrills, and a vehicle for Felice Varesi to create the original angry sad hunchback Rigoletto, and the sensational Teresa Brambilla to create the role of Gilda his daughter.

Raphael Rojas (left) as the Duke of Mantua and Jonathan Summers in the title role of Opera North's production of 'Rigoletto'. Photo © 2007 Richard Moran
Raphael Rojas (left) as the Duke of Mantua and Jonathan Summers in the title role of Opera North's production of 'Rigoletto'. Photo © 2007 Richard Moran

It is an evening of great duets, not only between father and daughter, but also between daughter and Il Duca (safer for Verdi's librettist Francesco Piave, who was poet and stage manage at La Fenice, to transpose the King of France in Victor Hugo's original play to an anonymous Duke for the Venetians -- but Italians were offended too at the suggestion that any aristocrat could be a corrupt libertine!) and the duet between Il Duca and one of his many girl friends Maddalena, sister of professional hit-man Sparafucile. The four of them create the amazing quartet in an equally astonishing third Act which must be the best scene, both musically and atmospherically, in all Verdi.

From left to right, Nicola Unwin (Monterone's daughter), Stephen Richardson (Count Monterone), Raphael Rojas (Duke of Mantua) and Alan Opie (Rigoletto) in the Opera North productioni of 'Rigoletto'. Photo © 2007 Richard Moran
From left to right, Nicola Unwin (Monterone's daughter), Stephen Richardson (Count Monterone), Raphael Rojas (Duke of Mantua) and Alan Opie (Rigoletto) in the Opera North productioni of 'Rigoletto'. Photo © 2007 Richard Moran

 

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Copyright © 19 May 2007 Patric Standford, Wakefield UK

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