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The universal appeal of Verdi’s Rigoletto is celebrated in a Royal Opera House revival of David McVicar’s classic staging

21 December, 2017 — By Sarah Dawes

Dimitri Platanias as Rigoletto at the Royal Opera House. PHOTO: Mark Douet

David McVicar’s classic 2001 staging of Verdi’s Rigoletto is getting yet another revival at the Royal Opera House, with two casts led by Dimitri Platanias as the court jester in the title role.

The revival is perhaps not surprising as the opera has such universal appeal – a story for all time with its twin themes of lasciviousness and fatherly love.

’Twas ever thus, powerful men such as aristocrats, politicians, film directors and suchlike, exploiting and abusing women. And women still die at the hands of their violent partners and many need to flee to refuges for safety. But the protective love of parents for their children also persists – as well as the need for romance.

McVicar’s production, like the original, is set in 16th-century Italy, which provides a chance for exciting costumes by Tanya McCallin. All the Verdi tunes are creditably performed. But deserving special mention is the quartet in the second act when Gilda (Lucy Crowe on the night I was there) is forced by her father to watch her lover making love to another.

The young conductor, Alexander Joel, may not have quite the same rapport with the orchestra as, say, Antonio Pappano. But the whole thing is hugely enjoyable as well as heartrendingly sad.

Verdi’s music triumphs by being uplifting even at the most unhappy moments.

• Rigoletto is at the Royal Opera House until January 16, 020 7304 4000, www.roh.org.uk


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