Rigoletto at the Met

tcamp1
Chorus Member
joined:6/5/11
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/16/13 at 07:49pm
Tonight (in London!) I saw the "Live from the Met in HD: Verdi's 'Rigoletto' directed by Michael Mayer", with his usual production team. At first when I heard it was being set in 1960's Las Vegas, I was skeptical, but I was very impressed with the show as a whole! With a huge cast (where only the principles took bows-is this common in opera?), a brilliant set full of neon and color, and the world's best singers, I thought the opera was a hit. That being said, I will be the first to admit I am not musically trained, nor is my exposure to opera as expansive as I wish it was.
I'm curious to hear what others' thoughts are if you've seen it (in cinemas or live!)
"To love another person is to see the face of God." -Les Miserables
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/16/13 at 08:53pm
I thought it was wonderful. Yes, in opera, they often just have the principals bow.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
OperaBwayLover
Broadway Star
joined:5/17/07
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/16/13 at 09:06pm
I tried listening to this afternoon's broadcast online, but the connection kept going out. Nevertheless, from what I did get to hear, the set descriptions have me intrigued, along with the new way Rigoletto is tricked during the kidnapping of Gilda. Looking forward to the PBS broadcast of this one several months down the road.
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/16/13 at 10:11pm
The act one set was striking.

The singing was fine.

Placing it in the new locale was arbitrary, pointless and not at all developed.

They may as well have left it in the time and place where it belonged.

It certainly would have made more sense.

PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/17/13 at 06:55am
Here's a nice dress-rehearsal clip of Piotr Beczala as the Duke singing "Questa o quella":

http://youtu.be/EekG_rs4bsE



and an interview with Michael Mayer:

http://youtu.be/L2J9D33pEE4
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/17/13 at 06:58am
And a one-hour interview that Ira Glass did with Piotr Beczala and Diana Damrau--including three numbers!

http://youtu.be/j_QCXTyRqFs
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/17/13 at 09:37am
Damrau was hilarious and refreshingly candid when interviewed by Deborah Voigt at intermission of Maria Stuarda (which was brilliant!) on Live from the Met HD in movie theaters).

To paraphrase, Voigt asked if this production shed new light on Rigoletto. Damrau said it didn't - at all - and added that Rigoletto is Rigoletto and "You can't kill it"

Not sure how Michael felt about that.

Queen of the Night
Stand-by
joined:6/12/07
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/17/13 at 10:31am
I saw it at the movie theater yesterday. I am more of a traditional production kind of person, but I can enjoy and accept a modern dress or even abstract production as long as it isn't done for mere shock value or with no clue on the part of the director (which is why I hate most of the bizarre, often offensive "Eurotrash" Regietheater productions that are done these days. I wouldn't describe this Rigoletto as "Eurotrashy". The concept was pretty solid, it didn't alter the story or introduce elements that were out of place or made no sense. I thought the singing and acting was quite good. The Met took a chance with this production and in my opinion, it fared much better with this than it has with some of the other more "modern reinventions" seen at the house in recent years like the new "Faust", the Luc Bondy "Tosca" and the Willy Decker "Traviata". Diana Damrau made something wonderful and precious out of Caro nome, an aria that is difficult to sing and act (it usually comes across as a shallow piece of fluff for the coloratura soprano). She is also the most convincing Gilda I have ever seen, and poor, naive, pathetic Gilda is one of the most difficult roles to act or take seriously.

RE the bows: when I saw it live, the entire cast bowed. They started with the page, servant, Countess Ceprano and Giovanna, then the three courtiers Borsa, Marullo and Ceprano, then the secondary soloists Monterone, Sparafucile, and Maddalena, and finally the three principals Rigoletto, Gilda and the Duke. The conductor and production team followed. ( I did catch some boos mixed in the applause for the production team....)
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/17/13 at 10:41am
I was there opening night and there were no boos. Everyone was expecting boos since some of the other new productions had been booed, but the audience was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

I liked the concept and the way it was executed--and I don't usually think that updated settings add anything to a play as interesting as what was there before. But the Mad Men/Rat Pack/Vegas setting created a plausible world for the story, and Mayer wisely stayed out of the singers' ways when they had iconic arias to deliver.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
tcamp1
Chorus Member
joined:6/5/11
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/17/13 at 04:32pm
The audience in my cinema theatre chuckled every time Renee asked a singer something to the extent of "How has setting it in the 60's changed your take on the story?" and everyone answered "It hasn't." So, I guess the time and place may be arbitrary after all.
Yes, the production team truly has their own style. I loved what Susan Hilferty said after how she "eliminated" women-by giving them the bird masks and such, since they were just there to be objectified. I wish Kevin Adams was there because I would have loved to hear his creative process! I thought the ights worked brilliantly (like with the escalators and the lightning-I got chills!)
"To love another person is to see the face of God." -Les Miserables
South Fl Marc
Broadway Legend
joined:6/23/04
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/17/13 at 10:22pm
I loved the interviews with the Rigoletto cast during Maria Stuarda. They basically said despite how bad the production is, you can't kill Verdi's drama.
After listening to Mr Mayer's interviews, where he basically says, I can make this "dated" opera interesting to a contemporary audience, all I can think is what a pretentious ass he must be. Somebody should show him Jonathan Miller's brilliant production of Rigoletto, which updated it to Little Italy, to show him how a good director does it.
His production was sloppy and boring.
Now living in DC. I really have to change my name on the board.
mallardo
Broadway Legend
joined:5/28/04
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/18/13 at 06:38am
You seriously thought the Jonathan Miller production was better? Your memory is playing tricks on you.
Faced with these Loreleis, what man can moralize!
AddisonMizner
Broadway Star
joined:10/7/11
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/18/13 at 09:48am
I saw an Encore Screening of this RIGOLETTO from the Met at my local cinema yesterday (18th February) and have to say that I really liked it. I am not averse to modern stagings of opera like some. As long as it does not mess around with the piece as written then I see absolutely no problem in updating it and this is an example of a modern staging that is extremely well done. You could see that every decision that the director made was founded in the opera’s score and libretto and I could totally get behind Mayer’s reason for updating the opera to 1960s Las Vegas. I in no way felt that it was disrespectful to the original opera, and instead felt that it rather aided the storytelling.

I too thought that Diana Damrau was the absolute STAR of this production, her Gilda being both beautifully sung and acted. She was totally believable as an innocent teenage girl and every character motivation was so completely realised. It was just stunning!

* * * On a side note, her LISZT: LIEDER CD with pianist Helmut Deutsch was one of my best buys of last year! I would definitely recommend it to anyone. * * *

Theatre 2014: Putting It Together (St. James Theatre) ***** Candide (Menier Chocolate Factory) ***** Les Miserables *** Gounod: Faust (ROH) **** Urinetown (St. James Theatre) ***** Ades: Powder Her Face (ENO at Ambika P3) ****
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/18/13 at 09:58am
She is absolutely amazing in person.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
Addison D.
Broadway Legend
joined:5/17/12
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/20/13 at 10:49pm
I saw it last night, and loved it.

I think the change in period does bring something to our experience, making it possible to connect more immediately with some of the motives and the relationship dynamics--they are immediately comprehensible when the players are not garbed in the clothing of a time beyond our memory.

I also really enjoyed--although my companion did NOT--the fact that a Met Opera audience was moved to laughter several times in the course of the production. Not derisive laughter, but enjoyment. How can it be bad to breathe that kind of life into the experience of seeing a classic work?

And with voices and music like we heard last night, they could be wearing jeans and t-shirts for all it really matters--a heavenly night at the opera.



You think, what do you want? You think, make a decision...
Updated On: 2/20/13 at 10:49 PM
Play Esq.
Broadway Star
joined:7/10/09
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 2/20/13 at 11:22pm
Sorry to be the negative voice here - but I found this production to be a botched effort to bring an inciteful production of Rigoletto to the Met. This is just as conservative (however more tarted up) as the Schenk production it replaced...just brighter and neon-ier. I like this opera very much and have seen many productions (including the much maligned Planet of the Apes production from Munich). I would just rather not see it again until a thoughtful regie (Aldan, Herheim, Jones, Bieito...) gives it a go...or in Alden's case, another go.

And yes, Mayer came off as a major ass when hyping his new show -- including an asinine conversation I attended at the Guggenheim. He spent a good portion of the evening discussing the plot of Rigoletto...to an audience of diehard opera fans. Ugh.

SFM is completely right: Miller deserves royalties for this production from the Met. Or -- better still -- I imagine Miller would pay the Met to stop using a bastardized version of his production.

Positive: performances were lovely (especially Beczala and Damrau). Damrau's Liszt album was amazing...as was her Coloratura album a few years ago where she performs a fantastic Caro Nome. Holding my breath until I see her Violetta at the Met...in an insightful imagining of a Verdi masterpiece by Willie Decker.


metropolis10111
Leading Actor
joined:7/28/06
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 3/7/13 at 12:59pm
Finally got to see the Encore showing of this and was just in love with the production. I must admit that it is my first time seeing Rigoletto so I have no other viewings to compare it to, but I do know the piece quite well. I thought the updated setting worked remarkably well. I will say that the updated subtitles did bring on a few chuckles early on in the audience I saw it with. I thought it was very clever to do that and can't say enough good things about what unfolded there on stage. The singing was spectacular and the tension in the third act into the quartet was great. I do hope they put this one out on Blu-ray as the setting looked great in HD
wonkit
Broadway Legend
joined:9/30/08
Rigoletto at the Met
Posted: 3/7/13 at 01:42pm
I also liked the Jonathan Miller production at the NO about thirty years ago (!). The setting, the relationships and the moral tensions all translated well to modern-ish Little Italy. I had more of a problem with the English translation than with the modernization of the story.