|Ernesto Petti as Rigoletto in Opera Australia's production of "Rigoletto"
Giuseppe Verdi – Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Elijah Moshinsky – Revival Director: Shane Placentino
Renato Palumbo - Set and Costumes designed by Michael Yeargan
designed by Robert Bryan.
Theatre, Sydney Opera House until 26th June, 2023.
night performance on 13th June reviewed by BILL STEPHENS.
|Ernesto Petti (Rigoletto) - Atalla Ayan (Duke of Mantua) in Opera Australia's 2023 production of "Rigoletto"
As with “La
Traviata”, Moshinsky teamed with designer Michael Yeargan to create an environment
in perfect harmony with events and characters portrayed in Verdi’s revered masterpiece.
Events take place
in a lavish palace ballroom, in Rigoletto’s modest house and in the sleazy squalor
of Sparafucile’s Inn. Yeargan’s revolving setting encapsulates all these while fascinating
the eye and informing the storytelling.
Director, Shane Placentino has taken advantage of the opportunities provided by
Yeargan’s setting as well as the talents of his cast, many of whom are making
their role debuts in this production, to enhance Moshinsky’s vision with
insightful detailing, even managing to shorten the running time by removing the
Many fine singers
have interpreted Verdi’s characters in this production, so it was particularly
fascinating to experience the role debut of Italian baritone, Ernesto Petti. Vocally impressive and dramatically secure,
Petti is mesmerising as the tortured clown and father, Rigoletto, whose efforts
to shield his daughter Gilda from the decadence surrounding her end in ultimate
|Stacey Alleaume as Gilda in Opera Australia's 2019 production of "Rigoletto" Photo: Jeff Busby
Stacey Alleaume adds lustre to her growing reputation as the youthful Gilda, dazzling with a beautifully shaped Caro Nome and tearing at the heartstrings in the famous quartet Bella figlia dell’amore.
of Opera Australia’s most versatile and accomplished singers, Sian Sharp revels
in the dual roles of the maid Giovanna and Sparafucile’s sister and accomplice
Maddalena; while mezzo-soprano Ruth Strutt impresses as the unfortunate
|Roberto Scandiuzzi (Sparafucile) - Sian Sharp (Maddalena) in Opera Australia's 2023 production of "Rigoletto"
However it is the male singers who have the best opportunities in this opera, and this production has a wealth of great male voices.
tenor Atalla Ayan plays the Duke of Mantua who seduces Gilda, and, it appears,
most of the other women in his court. He gets most of the hit arias including “Questa o quella” and "La donna e mobile”.
|Virgilio Marino (Borsa) - Anthony Mackey (Ceprano) - Luke Gabbedy (Manullo) and the Opera Austalia Chorus in Opera Australia's 2023 production of "Rigoletto"
celebrated Italian bass, Roberto Scandiuzzi is an unnerving presence as the
creepy assassin, Sparafucile; while David
Parkin, as the humiliated Duke Monterone, Luke Gabbedy (Marullo), Virgilio
Marino (Borsa) and Anthony Mackey
(Ceprano) as various of the Duke’s guests all add considerable
strength to the great male choruses which are a feature of this opera.
on the lily was provided by the Opera Australia Orchestra which under the fastidious
conducting of Verdi expert, Renato Palumbo, offered a lustrous performance to enhance
the superb singing and ensure that this particular Moshinsky’s treasure will
remain a treasured memory.
|Ernesto Petti (Rigoletto) in the final scene of Opera Australia's 2023 production of "Rigoletto"
Images by Keith Saunders unless marked otherwise
This review also published in AUSTRALIAN ARTS REVIEW. www.artsreview. com.au