A plot summary of Rigoletto can be found at http://rick.stanford.edu/opera/Verdi/Rigoletto/synopsis.html
The libretto of Rigoletto in Italian, along with a translation into Spanish, can be found at http://www.terra.es/personal/ealmagro/rigoletto/acto1.htm
Welsh National Opera
Internationally acclaimed baritone Simon Keenlyside returns to WNO to make his debut in the title role of Rigoletto. James Macdonald's vividly realised production sets Verdi's thriller in 1960s Washington D.C.
Director James Macdonald
Sung in Italian with English and Welsh surtitles
Review of performance--Portland, Maine--July 29, 2000
I had the pleasure of spending the last weekend of July in Portland, Maine, where I attended some very good performances of Rigoletto, The Impresario, and The Medium.
RIGOLETTO. Music by Giuseppe Verdi. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on Victor Hugo's play Le Roi s'amuse. Performance by Portland Opera Repertory Theatrre, at the Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine, July 29, 2000. Conducted by Bruce Hangen. Set design by Wayne Merritt. Costume design by Dona D. Vaughn. Production stage manager: Cindy Knight. Chorus Master: Judith Quimby. Technical Director: Richard Uhrick. Cast: Mark Rucker (Rigoletto), Cheryl Parrish (Gilda), Gerard Powers (the Duke of Mantua), Malcolm Smith (Sparafucile), Danielle Vayenas (Giovanna), Revekah Mavrovitis (Maddalena), Ray Karns (Monterone), Brian Dore (Marullo), Brendan Cooke (Count Ceprano), Amanda Nisenson (Countess Ceprano), Todd Queen (Borsa), Carolyne Eberhardt (Page), and Glenn Davis and Janet Davis (Dancers at Ball).
I attended a performance of Rigoletto on Saturday evening, July 29. The performance was faithful to the libretto. There was no updating of the story, and no imposition of any "concept." The traditional costumes were well designed. On the whole, the opera was well sung and well acted.
Mark Rucker in the title role was quite convincing dramatically. He created a character who seemed somewhat repugnant at first, but became increasingly sympathetic as he reacted to the curse and expressed his love for his daughter. His "Corteggiani, vil razza," was especially moving. He was much appreciated by the audience and received a spontaneous standing ovation when he appeared at the end to take his bow.
Cheryl Parrish as Gilda was filling in for the originally scheduled Madeline Bender who canceled her three appearances because of illness. Cheryl Parrish had also sung in the Thursday performance. (Monica Harte would sing the role on Monday August 1.) Miss Parrish had recently sung Gilda with the Vancouver Opera. It was a great pleasure to hear her. A Gilda in the tradition of Erna Berger, Miss Parrish is well known for her portrayal of Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier, which she has sung in Zurich, Cologne, Santa Fe, Florence, and San Francisco. Her pretty voice carried well in the theatre. Her coloratura in "Caro nome" was attractive, and she was very effective in duets. She and Mr. Rucker managed to seem very much like daughter and father. I would look forward to hearing Miss Parrish on future occasions.
Gerard Powers was a good-looking Duke of Mantua. His "Questa o quella" did not have the dramatic heft to make quite the effect that it could have, but he improved as the performance went along, and was at his best in the last act. While I thought that the Rigoletto and Gilda of the evening seemed born to sing these roles, I am not certain that that the Duke is the ideal repertory for Mr. Powers. Then, perhaps he simply lacks the experience that his co-stars have.
The other roles were all well cast, most notably Malcolm Smith as Sparafucile, Ray Karns as Monterone, and Revekah Mavrovitis as Maddalena. An impressive degree of care apparently went into the casting process.
The chorus were pleasant to hear and to see, and enunciated the text well. The orchestra performed flawlessly. The conductor Bruce Hangen maintained good tempi throughout, and seemed attentive to the singers.
For discussion of Rigoletto, please visit the Rigoletto Club.