Faltering Fabiano Condemns Disappointing Rigoletto
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David McVicar’s production of Rigoletto — in which the titular, tortured jester takes revenge on the repulsive duke he serves — is an uncomfortable watch this season; unrelentingly bleak and tired, with cast and conductor, Alexander Joel, seemingly at odds.
We enter a shadowy world of depravity and decay, encapsulated in a shrieking, demented orgy, which is utterly tedious and deliberate. Michael Vale’s revolving set of cold, tilted slate supports the air of moral and spiritual disintegration, but feels suffocating after three unvarying acts.
Michael Fabiano is an alarming disappointment as the villainous Duke, braying and stumbling his way through every aria and clearly not stage-fit. Sofia Fomina is pure and pleasing as Rigoletto’s daughter, and Andrea Mastroni gives a standout performance as intriguing assassin Sparafucile.
And then there’s Dimitri Platanias as Rigoletto himself, thudding about on his crutches. At times he is entirely sympathetic and vocally convincing as a doting, desperate father at the mercy of the despicable courtiers, but when we reach the tragic climax, he appears to be going through the motions.
Verdi once described Rigoletto as his best opera, but this current incarnation is far from the best interpretation, and unusually weak by Royal Opera House standards. There are worthier delights to come at Covent Garden in the new year.
Rigoletto, Royal Opera House, Bow Street, WC2E 9DD, £6-185, until 16 January 2018.
Last Updated 19 December 2017