Paris, Opéra Bastille:”Rigoletto”

Parigi, Opéra Bastille, Stagione Lirica 2011/2012
Melodramma in tre atti su  libretto di Francesco Maria Piave da Le roi s’amuse di  Victor Hugo
Musica di Giuseppe Verdi
Il Duca di Mantova PIOTR BECZALA
Monterone PAUL GAY
Il conte di Ceprano AlLEXANDRE DUHAMEL
La contessa di Ceprano ILONA KRZYWICKA
Paggio della duchessa MARIANNE CREBEASSA
Coro e Orchestra dell’Opéra National de Paris
Direttore Daniele Callegari
Maestro del Coro Alessandro di Stefano
Regia Jérôme Savary
Scene Michel Lebois
Costumi Jacques Schmidt, Emmanuel Peduzzi
Luci Alan Poisson
Parigi, 27 gennaio 2012
Jérôme Savary’s staging of Rigoletto, first performed in 1996 and revived many times since, is conventional and rather static. It also lacks acting directions. Musical director Daniele Callegari gave a straight reading of the score without getting too involved. The prelude to the opera, already so short, had no declamatory weight. On the other hand, another short passage, Verdi’s understated writing in Rigoletto’s La ra la ra sequence with the courtiers before his aria, was given too much significance. This opening night seemed in fact more like a general rehearsal.
Polish tenor Piotr Beczala (The Duke of Mantua) was immediately a model of self-control and composure. He sang Questa o quella centre stage with ardent conviction, clear dynamic terracing and fine legato, his whole body relaxed to focus and project the voice. A fine musician, Beczala portrayed the cynical Duke without any flurry of erotic staging to assist him. The ball behind him was a rather staid affair, the chorus promenading aimlessly amid the crumbling palace walls. Absence of specific stage directions meant that otherwise promising singers like Florian Sempey (Marullo), Vincent Delhoume (Borsa), even Paul Gay (Monterone), tended to fall into the trap of involuntary gesticulation.
Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic (Rigoletto) sang with assurance. His voice has the right tawny color, the powerful projection, the sustained top notes, but he navigated too comfortably through all the contradictions of this complex character. Rigoletto’s predicament should be a cause for greater anger and less plaintiveness. As a victim who takes vengeance into his own hands, Lucic needed more roughage, more bite. Cortigiani, vil razza dannata was his most powerful moment.  Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze (Gilda) has great scenic qualities but tonight she was disappointing vocally. Uncontrolled vibrato and rhythmic instability often turned her phrasing into a series of effects with no line. Caro nome lacked the calmness of an inner pulse, the sustained pianissimo and the bell-like coloratura it needs. Machaidze seemed to be singing without enjoyment. As a result, her top voice was forced and uninviting.
In Act II, Beczala sang his opening aria, Elle mi fu rapita, with a purity of line that brought new depth to the role. A slave to casual sex, here the Duke aspires to fidelity. Beczala’s cadenzas and trills had high-powered interior rhythm. La donna e mobile was a little shaky at the end of the first verse, but here Beczala proved himself a force to be reckoned with by increasing vocal intensity each time, right up until his final echo off stage.
Basse Dimitry Ivashchenko (Sparafucile) was compelling as the hired assassin. His dark penetrating timbre carved out lines with the precision of a killer’s knife.  Mezzo-soprano Nancy Fabiola Herrera (Maddalena) has a naturally radiant voice that brought a particular color to Bella figlia dell’amore. To Gilda’s despair, the Duke’s cynicism and Rigoletto’s desire for vengeance, she added a touch of Spanish sensuality.  The audience gave the work a most enthusiastic reception. Rigoletto plays until February 23rd.