Verdi’s Rigoletto is justly one of the best-known of all great chorus operas, and The Royal Opera’s revival brings it back with a wonderful international cast under a renowned conductor of Italian opera, Daniel Oren.
In David McVicar’s powerful and perceptive staging, the cruel and the beautiful collide in a corrupt society, at whose head is the womanizing and carefree young Duke of Mantua. Rigoletto, the deformed court jester at the Duke’s court, has to play a hard game to survive.
Ensnared in the web of court affairs, a curse placed on Rigoletto starts to exert its power when his own daughter is abducted for sexual pleasure by his master. Revenge seems to be the jester’s only solution, but through the unwitting actions of his trusting daughter fate turns a dark tale even darker by the tragic fall of the curtain.
The score is much loved for such tuneful and famous numbers as ‘La donna e mobile’ sung by the carefree Duke, the beautiful and virtuosic ‘Caro nome’ from the innocent Gilda, and a wonderful quartet that winds the voices together just as the strands of the plot pointedly entangle.
Throughout, Verdi’s vision brings out the full range of the characters’ emotions, from elation to despair. No wonder, then, that Rigoletto’s combination of music and engrossing action continues to thrill each time it returns to the Covent Garden stage. This production contains nudity.