That is not to say I thought it would be bad, not at all, I just wondered whether Placido Domingo who I love would work as Rigoletto. I adore Verdi's opera, so of course I wanted to see this on location production. And I found it surprisingly good.
I loved the authentic location work, and the clever photography and lighting(if occasionally too bright). The music is unquestionably magnificent, and it is performed and conducted with power, pathos and I think vigour. The story is still foreboding and moving with plenty of atmosphere especially in the scene between Rigoletto and Sparafucile.
The acting and singing are solid throughout. Yuliya Novikova is a sweetly voiced Gilda, and appropriately tender in her duets with Domingo though her acting is stiff at times. Vittorio Grigolo is a cynical and handsome Duke of Mantua. In support, coming off best are Nino Surqualadze as a seductive Maddalena and Gianfranco Montresor as Monterone.
Placido Domingo is wonderful in the title role, maybe not the most ideal Verdian baritone voice, there is a lot of the burnished tenor basic sound, but with poignancy, charisma and malevolence as is always the case with this great singer his acting is extraordinary. I personally would have preferred a darker and more authoritative basso voice for Sparafucile, but while some of its power is not quite there Ruggero Raimondi's voice has security and shape and like Domingo he is a magnetic actor.
The directing is fine, all the crucial scenes are done well though the opening scene is not the most vibrant opening to Rigoletto I've seen. The costumes are also good. All in all, surprisingly good. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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