Director:

(as Barry J.C. Purves)

Writers:

(abridgement), (translation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Episode cast overview:
Jonathan Summers ...
Rigoletto (voice)
Rosemary Joshua ...
Gilda (voice)
Anthony Mee ...
The Duke (voice)
Ashley Thorburn ...
Sparafucile (voice)
Julie Gossage ...
Maddalena (voice)
Mike Newman ...
Monterone (voice)
Yvonne Burnett ...
Giovanna (voice)
Ralph Hamer ...
Ceprano (voice)
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Genres:

Animation | Musical

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Details

Release Date:

24 February 1995 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed in a converted railway arch in Aardwick, Manchester, UK. Director and Animator Barry Purves single-handedly animated all the stop-motion action during the 32-week shoot. Sometimes there were up to 75 puppets in a single shot. See more »

Connections

Version of Rigoletto (1909) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful animated Rigoletto
11 May 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The 6-episode Operavox series, doing operas in animated form using various animation styles is a very interesting one, and a good way to introduce younger audiences to opera. All 6 episodes are good to great, the weakest for me was The Magic Flute and that had some very good things still. If there was a standout though, it was Rigoletto. Whereas The Magic Flute of the Operavox series is the most accessible for newbies to opera Rigoletto is by far the most adult, the Duke's seduction of Gilda is a genuine seduction and Rigoletto's opening line of Cortigiani is translated here as heartless bastards(seeing as so many seem to think that animation immediately means it's for kids, I can imagine right now parents getting upset over this). But the opera itself in its full form is even more powerful, daring and even darker than here. The story content here is the nitty-gritty in alternative to the whole story of the opera(the animation is only 30 minutes to the opera's approximate two-a-half hour length), but it is still incredibly powerful and moving especially the ending.

In Rigoletto, the animation is extraordinary, of the Operavox series Rigoletto is the best animated for me. The attention to detail is enough to leave you in awe, the darkness and colour has so much texture and nuance and Rigoletto's tormented facial expressions for example really help to help us identify with the character with few redeeming qualities other than the love of his daughter. It was clear that so much work had gone into it. You can speak so many positive adjectives to describe Verdi's score and I struggle to decide which one to use, but to put it simply it really is one of his best. The orchestra play with assured style and dramatic thrust. The English translation translates remarkably well, it flows, it maintains the drama of the music and in no way does it undermine the characters' motivations. And I really loved that this animated Rigoletto is entirely sung, instead of having spoken dialogue as well. Carmen and The Magic Flute you can forgive as they have spoken dialogue in the first place, but Rigoletto is one of those where the music really speaks for itself and doesn't need it. And seeing as I'm not a big fan of the spoken voice work anyway in the Operavox series, it would have been distracting I think.

As for the singing, it was most impressive. Jonathan Summers is an exemplary Rigoletto, he has a powerful, quite dark but opulent voice that he shades expressively, and he sings and acts Rigoletto with complete authority(his sobbing for example did seem really genuine and didn't seem too melodramatic). Rosemary Joshua's bright voice is as clear as a bell, for me an ideal tone for a soprano/colouratura soprano, she also sounds very youthful and the girlish quality to her voice is most appealing. Anthony Mee's tenor voice for Duke of Mantua- apart from some occasional edginess and some too bright vowels- is strong and stylishly phrased with solid high notes and good lyricism and power, and while the Duke is cynical and a real cad you can see also what women see in him in the first place. Ashley Thorburn has an attractive voice but too lightweight I feel for Sparafucile, a character that here looks more sinister than he sounds. Mike Newman's sonorously sung Monterone sounded much more threatening. Julie Gossage has a lovely voice and brings out the seductive side of Maddalena very convincingly.

Overall, living proof that even when condensed and animated Rigoletto can still make a huge impact. Operavox's animated take on Verdi's masterpiece is truly outstanding and dramatically and visually for me the highlight of the series. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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