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Rigoletto - Royal Opera House London


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Royal Opera House Covent Garden London (GBR)
October 9 and 12, 2002


Carlos Alvarez as Rigoletto and Ramón Vargas
as Duke of Mantua - still they are friends.
Photos:  Bill Cooper

Excellent performances of two Verdi operas opened the month of October at the London Royal Opera House Covent Garden. In the quite gloomy, but with splendid costumes out-fitted Rigoletto- production of David McVicar (director of the revival and choreographer: Leah Hausmann, stage design: Michael Vale, costumes: Tanya McCallin, lightning: Paul Constable) it had with the Spanish baritone Carlos Alvarez as Rigoletto and the Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas as the Duke of Mantua two of the world's best interprets of this repertory on stage. For Carlos Alvarez it was after his acclaimed role debut exactly one year ago at the Teatro Real at Madrid (ESP) his second engagement in this role.

Nobody can escape the mockery of Rigoletto -
 Carlos Alvarez with Dervla Ramsay

In spite being just in his mid-thirties he understood to transfer into the audience the enormous range of Rigoletto's emotions from the loving, sensitive, despairing father over the in his body and soul crippled human being to the sneering, humans contemptuous jester with credibility and a brilliant voice with touching piani and just as powerful outbursts. As good in form and credible was Ramón Vargas in the role of the easy-going duke, to whom no woman can resist. Clear and nevertheless warm in its timbre is his touching, with great smoothness, sensibility and certainty guided tenor.

Gilda (Patrizia Ciovi) is the only person, who matters
something to Rigoletto

In all registers very expressively and certain managed also the soprano Patrizia Ciofi her role. Her voice was wonderfully matching with the voices of Rigoletto and the Duke in the duets to great complete works. Also the medium and the small roles were extremely well casted, as it had Kurt Rydl as notorious Sparafucile, Leah- Marian Jones as seductive Maddalena  or Darren Jeffery as humiliated father Count Monterone, who embodied the role with a powerful and expressive bass,  what is unfortunately not very often the case. A big share in the success of the evenings had the orchestra of the Royal Opera Houses under the baton of Maurizio Benini and the choir under the direction of Terry Edwards.

Gilda dies in the arms of his father.

That on October 12, in the last performance of this season (the 455th performance of this production at the ROH) the stage technique failed - after it had the general rehearsal of Wozzeck at the same afternoon -, did not harm the performance of the singers. In contrary, those, who had seen several performances shared the opinion that the half-scenic performance with costumes but no stage design would have been the best of this series in the vocal and musical aspects - prima la musica ....

Birgit Popp

Report of the ROH new production of I masnadieri

Further information: www.royalopera.org




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