Operarecension: Rigoletto is a success – the best is Ida Falk Winland


For a period of two years, between March 1851 and March 1853, Verdi's three surprising operas made their debut – "Rigoletto", "Trubaduren" and "La Traviata" – all of them becoming immediate classics. A download comparable to the three albums that Bob Dylan released from 1965-1966, "Bringing It All Back Home," "Highway 61 Revisited," and "Blonde on Blonde." In both cases, an artist is at the peak of his skill, which in the short term bizarre defines not only his career but a whole musical era.

Verdi was furiously creative during this period. "Rigoletto" not only has superb playwriting and memorable characters – it also contains one of the most appreciated arias of the nineteenth century ("La Donna è mobile"), a complete quartet ("Bella Figlia dell & amore") and musical inventions unique as you let a singing chorus create the sound of the winning winds.

"Rigoletto" is about power and impotence. It originates in the sixteenth century, but the Duke of Mantua, the alfahanna around which everything revolves, is a timeless figure. No less important in terms of method he feels strangely contemporary. He is rich, he has an appetite for women, he respects no one, he is feared by many and he escapes everything. Its charm and beautiful exterior make women fall in love with it – it has a luminous power, which makes it logical that its solares are the most powerful of the opera. "La Donna è mobile" and "Questa O Quella" is his time equivalent to hit songs like Lil Wayne's "Love Me."

The duke's feast is a decadent dinner in which young women are trapped like animals and fed with pieces of meat in a sexualized way.

Rigoletto himself is an insolent man who lives like a hoof, hurts for the duke, but secretly denies it. The only Rigoletto worries about his teenage daughter Gilda as he tries to protect himself from the world at large and poor men, especially keeping her at home. But the duke sees her and feels like her, and she falls in love with him with the violence of all her youth. Gilda is heartbroken, Rigoletto's love for his daughter fills him with deep hatred and – because it is a society where women and their sexuality are goods, objects that can be protected and stolen – murderous plans justified by honor.

Sofia Jupither, who made a fantastic debut as "Salome", director of opera at the Royal Opera, launches "Rigoletto" with a continuation of the most memorable scene of the whole, the total deterioration of a woman of safe mind. The duke's feast is a decadent dinner in which young women are trapped like animals and fed with pieces of meat in a sexualized way. The whole show is full of unforgettable images such as when Gilda bathes in the afternoon sun, when autumn leaves on the floor can illustrate how a life is taken and a soul passes or when the world is distancing itself from Rigoletto in the ultra- sound of the opera.

Karl-Magnus Fredriksson is very good as the broken man Rigoletto and sings phenomenally well. But Ida Falk Winland steals the show with her incredible voice – she's a perfect Gilda, innocent but powerful, resolute, but impotent both in patriarchal society and under her own love. Leonardo Capalbo makes an interesting interpretation of the Duke, passionate, powerful and emotionally unstable, and sings well despite the cold on opening night. In his hands, "La Donna è mobile" seems a projection: when he sings about how light and unreliable women he really describes himself.

In short, this "Rigoletto" is a total success. Go and see!

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