Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bolshoi Theatre Revives Robert Carsen Circus "Rigoletto"

Kristina Mkhitaryan as Gilda
"Giuseppe Verdi's immensely popular opera Rigoletto returned to the Bolshoi Theater earlier this month, after an absence of 25 years, in a staging by Canadian director Robert Carsen co-produced by the Bolshoi, the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, in France, where it originated in the summer of 2013, and the opera houses of Brussels, Strasbourg and Geneva. The Bolshoi played host to the Russian premiere of Rigoletto in 1859 and over the next 130 years the opera went on to become one of the theater's most-performed works, appearing nearly 1,600 times in 11 different stagings. To say that Carsen's production is unlike any seen before at the Bolshoi would amount to a gross understatement. Moving the action from its
Justina Gringyte as Maddalena and Sergey 
Romanovsky as the Duke of Mantua
original locale, the 16th-century ducal court of Mantua, in northern Italy, to a modern-day circus arena, Carsen has turned the libidinous Duke into an equally libidinous circus director and the court jester, Rigoletto, into a clown. To conduct Rigoletto, the Bolshoi engaged prominent Italian conductor Evelino Pido, who encountered certain difficulties in coordinating his forces and for whom the orchestra played rather insensitively at times. The principal treat vocally on opening night was the Duke of Sergei Romanovsky, who, after a brief stint with Novaya Opera, left Russia in 2009 to pursue a career abroad. His bright, technically secure lyric tenor proved a near-perfect fit to the music, marred only by a few cracked high notes. And he played the philandering Duke with enormous gusto and conviction. Kristina Mkhitaryan, a
Dimitris Tiliakos as Rigoletto
member of the Bolshoi's Young Opera Artists Program, showed considerable potential in her sympathetic account of the doomed Gilda, though she lacked, on opening night at least, the pure, bell-like high notes heard from the part's finest interpreters. The vocal disappointment of the evening was the Rigoletto of Greek baritone Dimitris Tiliakos, who seemed to possess several different voices, principal among them an only intermittently full-bodied sound in the mid-range of a sort that marks the true 'Verdi baritone' and rather weak and fluttering notes in music's upper reaches." [Source] Click here for information about Rigoletto performances at the Bolshoi. Watch a video after the jump.

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