Monday, February 13, 2006

Friends of Italian Opera

by Tom Bozzo

We was at Rigoletto's yesterday for a little pre-Valentine's mommy and daddy getaway, with no massacres observed at any of three downtown Chicago parking structures.

This new Lyric Opera production plays the opening bacchanal in the Duke's palace in all the (literally) bodice-ripping depravity you could ask for — more, perhaps, if you were of a mind with Suzanne. For that matter, some of the costume design was drawing a fine line between wardrobe function and malfunction. This was in fairly sharp contrast to the 2000 revival which, as I recall, was staged to suggest the moral black hole at the center of the story. I tried not to remember that there was a nun in traditional habit sitting directly behind us. Things settled down once the scene shifted to Rigoletto's house.

We both judged the singing to be especially strong, particularly Dina Kuznetsova's as Gilda; she had excellent control through her full range amid a lot of acting requiring her to sing in a variety of horizontal and twisted positions. There are only two remaining dates left, this Wednesday (2/15) and Friday (sold out), should any Chicagoland visitors want to catch it — which I'd highly recommend. New York readers can catch Carlos Álvarez (Rigoletto) and Frank Lopardo (the Duke of Mantua) at the Metropolitan Opera in the near future.
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