After a bit of sleep (curtain times here are typically 9:30 or 10 p.m.) I had a nice Sunday brunch and walked a bit of the city. A nice day off. I was so looking forward to Robert Carsen’s production of RIGOLETTO featuring George Gagnidze in the title role, and I was not disappointed. Go HERE to learn more about Robert Carsen. He is a fellow Canadian who has given opera some of the most memorable and iconic productions of our time. Gagnidze’s Rigoletto in this production was a dark and ridiculed character in a world occupied by dark and mean people.
The inspiration of the production was the 1924 motion picture He Who Gets Slapped and worked in bringing the loathing Rigoletto to life in one of the most compelling ways I have seen. Under an ever present circus tent the action unfolded with a strong conceptual hand, replete with six lady strippers in Act I and six ripped and bouncy male circus performers. Even the duke dropped his robe for a bare bum exit on his way to Gilda. It all sounds more gratuitous than it was, as it completely fit in this underbelly world where ridicule, thievery and murder exist.
The audience here loved it – yet I am still working out in my mind if this is something that would work in the U.S. (Ruminating on this subject will take some time). It was Fête Nationale (Bastille Day) today and as this production was performed in the outdoor Théâtre de l’Archevêché. We were treated not only to the beautiful sounds of the London Symphony Orchestra for the overture at 10 p.m., but also to the sounds of fireworks at the nearby Rotunde. All in all, a special night.