I am sure you all know the story by now.
Amoral Duke dishonors females. Revengeful jester plots to have him killed, which is foiled by another female who saves the Duke first, then by jester's daughter, still enamored despite all, who dies in his stead! That's it in a nutshell.
However, perhaps due to my encroaching age, and past life experiences (lol) I found a "new"? insight. Did Verdi mean this a morale?
The Bad shall not go unpunished? Sadly, it turns into "The Good shall be punished".
Or, women in love act irrationally?
Or, do curses really work?
If so, I sure would really love to curse some drivers. Yes, those that cut in whilst texting, yapping, or even putting on make-up ON THE highways and byways! ;-) But I digress.
Back to the HGO production, which, if I recall, has been around a few times before, and seems a bit tired, to me, despite the big red splashy opening scene with Rigoletto.
|Alexyuk, McKinny-Photocredit HGO|
HGO alum Ryan McKinny made his debut as the jester, and did it well with sonorous sound and gestures. He just looks a bit too young even make up did not age him sufficiently to cover his charmingly youthful face.
On the other hand, his daughter Gilda, sung with crystal clarity and meltingly haunting voice by Studio Member Uliana Alexyuk (Einspringer for the scheduled Gilda who left - for personal reasons) was stunning and so teenager. That singer is one to watch, and conquer other opera houses soon!
I heard others as Gilda, the ones most securely anchored in my memory are: more recently,
Maureen O' Flynn (HGO) and, prior to that, Edita Gruberova...but Alexyuk comes very close!
Now on to others in the cast.
Despite a pre-curtain announcement, that Stephen Costello felt ill, he sang the Duke seemingly without signs, perhaps not quite full out, but getting stronger as the night wore on.
Robert Pomakov's Monterone was a bit less imposing than previously heard Monterones;
Dimitri Belosselskiy (Debut at HGO) did not quite come up to expectations as Sparafucile...that cold, yet "honorable?" viciousness in the voice seemed lacking;
Carolyne Sproule as Maddalena (HGO Studio) decked in shawls like a Carmen (early ads for the coming 'Carmen'? tee hee) was adequately sultry with Rastafarian curls..
Other comprimario roles were also taken by current studio members.
Thus, a sense of supposed deep depravity of this court was - well - NOT sensed.
Patrick Sommers coaxed grand Verdian sounds from the orchestra with his usual verve.