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Rigoletto Reloaded

New York
Metropolitan Opera
10/20/2015 -  & October 23, 28, 31, November 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, December 2, 5, 12, 17*, 2015
Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto
Jean-François Borras (Duke), Scott Scully (Borsa), Katherine Whyte (Countess Ceprano), Zeljko Lucic (Rigoletto), Paul Corona (Count Ceprano), Robert Pomakov (Monterone), Jeff Mattsey (Marullo), Dmitry Ivashchenko (Sparafucile), Nadine Sierra (Gilda), MaryAnn McCormick (Giovanna), Nancy Fabiola Herrera (Maddalena)
The Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Roberto Abbado (conductor)
Michael Mayer (production), Christine Jones (set designer), Susan Hilferty (costume designer), Kevin Adams (lighting designer), Steven Hoggett (choreographer)

N. Sierra (Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)

The Met’s Vegas incarnation of Rigoletto reappeared earlier this season in a reasonably entertaining if not completely stellar revival. A new cast took over this month, however, and attracted much attention for the revival’s five final performances. The reason was simply the birth of a star – the 27 year old soprano Nadine Sierra in the role of Gilda. A winner of the Met’s National Council auditions in 2009, this exciting young singer returned to the house’s intimidating stage for her performance debut. The results showed enormous promise. Although the voice still has room to grow in size and authority, the tones and technique are so firmly in place as to leave the impression of a mature singer who has precociously mastered her craft. Swelling appoggiatura runs pleasingly united with extraordinary dramatic ability to leave a compelling depiction of Verdi’s heroine, doomed to death by her own innocence and affection. In what will likely stand as the most promising debut of the season, Ms. Sierra has proved herself a star rising into the operatic firmament.

Zeljko Lucic sang the title role in this production when it was new and retains all the stentorian power of a true Verdi baritone. The range of emotions on display requires incisive deftness and Lucic delivered one of the part’s most compelling portraits on stage today. Tenor Jean-François Borras took over the role of the Duke for this one performance from the sensation Piotr Beczala and, though sturdy of voice, took few chances. Dmitry Ivashchenko sang a menacing Sparafucile. In the role of that nefarious bass character’s sister Maddalena, Nancy Fabiola Herrera was a bit underwhelming. Roberto Abbado gave a crisp reading of the score that brought much needed energy to a production that often underserves the work.

Paul du Quenoy



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