Theatre in Wales

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LA DONNA É MOBILE !

Rigoletto

Welsh National Opera , Wales Millennium Centre , September-27-19
Rigoletto  by Welsh National Opera With his limp and well-worn tweed jackets the Rigoletto of award-winning bass baritone Mark S Doss stands out very much in contrast to the slick-suited Lotharios that surround him. He is a splendid actor and his singing is very warm and compelling.

The duke, short and fat, certainly does not have the looks of a great seducer of the ladies but he does not allow that to hold himself back. Korean tenor David Junghoon Kim now alone on a couch oozes sensuality as he sings of the pleasure he finds in cuckolding his courtiers. He mentions to his friend Borsa, sung with a gentle tenor by Simon Crosby Buttle, that he has spotted a very attractive young lady in church and now lusts after. The young lady in question is Rigoletto’s daughter but no one is aware of this at this point.

Young girls seem to be a speciality of the duke. A very stern Count Monterone, sternly sang by Eddie Wade, demands the duke returns his daughter to him. Rigoletto, as the duke’s right-hand man, implies he has no chance. Monterone curses him. This worries Rigoletto. He hurries home. On the way he meets Sparafucile, an assassin who offers his services. James Platt’s solid build looks the ideal killer. Rigoletto feels he has the same effect with his tongue. Together they sing and strongly assert "Pari siamo!" ("We are alike!"); Rigoletto dismiss him for the time being.

He hurries on to his daughter, Gilda, sung with wonderful power and clarity by Marina Monzó. She also adds excellent coloratura. A voice that is a sheer joy to listen to. As they meet we hear a beautifully duet, "Figlia!" "Mio padre!" ("Daughter!" "My father!").

Rigoletto goes out to investigate a noise, the duke, now disguised as a student, dives into the house. She is deceived. The courtiers abduct her, thinking she is Rigoletto’s mistress. Deceived by them Rigolletto assists the abductors. When he realises that she has gone he searches for her, remembering Monterone’s curse.

There is an ironic beauty in the singing of all the principal singers as the love story move on to its tragic ending.

With the reprise of one of the opera world’s best-known aria, La donna è mobile in the background, by now a very bewildered, Rigoletto has what he thinks is the murdered body lying in the sack on the floor in front of him is that of the duke but he is in the greatest despair as he sees it is the body of his dying daughter. In her final moments, she revives and with the beauty of her dying voice she sings to her father V'ho ingannato" ("Father, I deceived you").
A final last cry from the devastated Rigaletto "La maledizione!" ("The curse!")
The front cloth with its excellent painting of the iconic American ‘The White House’ sets the opera clearly in the present time though the ‘back stabbing’ was, by no means, metaphorical.





Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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