15 Dec 2005

Rigoletto at the Met — Three Reviews

THE METROPOLITAN OPERA: Verdi considered Victor Hugo’s play Le Roi s’amuse “one of the greatest creations of the modern theatre”, and jumped at the opportunity to adapt it for Venice in 1851.

The local censors took great exception to “the disgusting immorality and obscene triviality” of the plot and to the depiction of the hunchback Rigoletto. But Verdi refused to make the changes they demanded, and the opera (including “Caro nome” and “La donna e mobile”) has remained firmly at the top of the list of popular operas since then – not just with audiences, but even more so with the greatest singers. [Source: The Metropolitan Opera]

A Glamorous Twosome Fills an Opera House

By ANTHONY TOMMASINI [NY Times, 12 December 2005]

Like the behemoth it is, the Metropolitan Opera moves slowly. Because seasons are planned years in advance, it finds it hard to accommodate sudden phenomena in the opera world, like the vocal partnership of Anna Netrebko, the gorgeous and immensely gifted Russian coloratura soprano, and Rolando Villazón, the dashing and ardent Mexican tenor.

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An Uneven Night for the Hottest Singers in Opera

BY JAY NORDLINGER [NY Sun, 12 December 2005]

If you'll pardon the celebrity-world language, Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon are probably the hottest singers in opera.They appeared in Verdi's "Rigoletto" at the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday night. She is a Russian soprano, and he is a Mexican tenor.They are paired together in opera houses around the world, in such operas as "Romeo et Juliette" (Gounod) and "La Traviata" (Verdi again). Last summer at the Salzburg Festival, they sang in this latter opera, and caused a sensation. They were virtually the talk of the Continent.

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Verdi's 'unending string' breaks at the Met
BY MARION LIGNANA ROSENBERG [Newsday, 14 December 2005]

Verdi left behind little commentary on his operas, content to let his work speak for itself. In the case of "Rigoletto," though, he was explicit, saying that he conceived the opera as "an unending string of duets."

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