Opera Scotland

Rigoletto 2011Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Rigoletto

The musical side of this run was very strong. Tobias Ringborg introduced more variety of pacing than is nowadays fashionable in early and middle-period Verdi. He conducted from memory and also placed the orchestra in an unusual way - woodwind grouped at the front of the pit extreme left - which produced some novel sound perspectives. The performance of the orchestra and the enlarged freelance chorus was excellent.

For the most part the principals sang well. Eddie Wade, in the title role, was the only slight disappointment, lacking the projection that the role ideally needs - this was probably the result of a heavy cold when the production reached Edinburgh (there had been a period of serious gales, very unusual for May). Young Nadine Livingston, on the company's Emerging Artist programme, was a near ideal Gilda - a very promising performance. Edgaras Montvidas returned in a role which was a complete contrast from his last appearance as an endearing Nemorino - his Duke, elegantly sung, had the necessary nasty, selfish streak, without entirely forfeiting sympathy - an unusual combination. The smaller roles all made a strong effect.

It was good to see that the chorus again included John Robertson, a company veteran at the ripe old age of 72, who first worked with Scottish Opera in 1962 (straight from Edinburgh University), was a founder member of the famed Scottish Opera Chorus for Otello in 1963, and sang dozens of principal and comprimario roles over succeeding decades.

After several years working largely in Sweden and New Zealand, Matthew Richardson was returning to a company he had worked with early in his career. The set was the basic open black stage with either a red wall across it, with a series of doors through which characters could eavesdrop or spy, or a black wall at the front representing exteriors, with a single door. Gilda's room and the inn were represented by small boxes raised a couple of feet above the stage, which looked effective, but, more importantly, projected the voices effortlessly into the auditorium

The success of the action varied. For the abduction, the chorus wore effective Venetian Carnival-style bird masks, and when delivering Gilda to the Duke their jolly chorus had a touch of Busby Berkeley about it. Rigoletto himself was shown almost as a failed music-hall artiste whose job at court was an easier option. The absence of a salaried chorus allowed the director to make a virtue of necessity by recruiting more men and using female mannequins in the opening dance scenes with great success. The lack of respect for women by all the men at court was emphasised as the mannequins were dismembered later on. He used another one to represent Gilda both during the abduction and for her corpse at the end. Thus when Gilda sang her final aria she was not lying flat on her back in the usual sack, but the spirit of the already dead girl able to walk about the stage - a very effective and novel touch. The reading of the Duke was not entirely the brash hedonist of yore, but almost at times a sympathetic figure, who had outbursts of petulance when needing to assert his authority.

Performance Cast

Duke of Mantua

Edgaras Montvidas

Matteo Borsa a courtier

Christopher Turner

Marullo a courtier

Michel de Souza

Count Ceprano a courtier

David Morrison

Countess Ceprano

Rebecca Afonwy-Jones

Rigoletto a jester

Eddie Wade

Count Monterone

Alan Fairs

Sparafucile a professional assassin

Gregory Frank (Exc Jun 16, 18, 21, 23, 25)

Jonathan May (Jun 16, 18, 21, 23, 25)

Gilda Rigoletto's daughter

Nadine Livingston

Giovanna Gilda's duenna

Karen Murray

Page to the Duchess

Marie Claire Breen

Usher

Steven Faughey

Maddalena sister of Sparafucile

Louise Collett

Performance DatesRigoletto 2011

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

11 May, 19.15 15 May, 14.15 18 May, 19.15 21 May, 19.15

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

24 May, 19.15 26 May, 19.15 28 May, 19.15

His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen | Aberdeen

2 Jun, 19.30 4 Jun, 19.30

Eden Court Theatre | Inverness

9 Jun, 19.15 11 Jun, 19.15

Grand Opera House, Belfast | Belfast, Northern Ireland

16 Jun, 19.15 18 Jun, 19.15

Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin | Dublin

21 Jun, 19.30 23 Jun, 19.30 25 Jun, 19.30

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