Review- By Nili Nathan: Bravo to LA Opera for delivering an outstanding evening of Opera! (Note: performers in video are not from May 31/June 3 performance). Guiseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto takes place in Mantua, Italy. It is the 16th century and men of royalty, means and power were often corrupt. Women were mere objects to do with what they wanted, without objection or public outcry. Five centuries later, the landscape looks the same; but now we have public outcry partly thanks to the “Me Too” movement. Not so in the opera adapted from Victor Hugo’s “Le roi s’amuse." Conductor Matthew Aucoin’s orchestra brilliantly plays the iconic opening which set the tone of the piece. As the curtain rises, we see a beautiful, simple set design that is in contrast with the complexity of the characters. The lines and perspective of the buildings and their arches create the street scene, a fine choice by scenic designer, Michael Yeargan, winner of 13 Tony awards. The simplicity of the set enhances the viewer’s perception and helps the audience focus on the psychological intricacies of the plot as well as the main character, Rigoletto. Director Mark Lamos, arranges a balanced mise-en-scène, keeping the blocking of the actors minimal. Basil De Pinto (LA OPERA) writes, “The spoken word in the theater has its own eminence; opera ups the ante through music that invests a drama with a whole new dimension of intensity.” Adela Zahari, Soprano, who plays Gilda sang “Caro Nome Che il Mio Cor” perfectly. She was the 2017 first place winner of Operalia. Michael Fabiano, tenor, making his debut with LA Opera, plays the Duke. Although his operatic voice is fantastic he falls short a few notes portraying the charm and charisma for which the Duke is noted. One of the highlights is the duet sung by Gilda and the Duke. Together Adela Zahari and Michael Fabiano connect with emotion and passion. Also debuting with LA Opera is the dynamic soprano, Ginger Costa-Jackson, from Palermo, Italy. As Maddalena, Ms. Costa-Jackson is engaging and a sheer delight. LA Opera’s Rigoletti is truly enjoyable, but sadly the season is wrapping up. June 3rd is the last performance at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Tickets are still available.
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