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A Grand Rigoletto

Opéra de Lausanne
03/19/2000 -  and 22, 24, 26, 28 March 2000
Giuseppe Verdi : Rigoletto
A Théâtre de la Monnaie de Bruxelles, Teatro la Fenice (Venice) and Opéra de Lausanne co-production
Stefano Antonucci (Rigoletto), Monica Colonna (Gilda), Justin Lavender (le Duc de Mantoue), Eldar Alviev (Sparafucile), Cinza de Mola (Maddalena), Jaco Huijpen (Monterone), Orfeo Zanetti (Matteo Borsa). Stéphane Braunschweig (direction and set), Sinfonietta de Lausanne Orchestra, Corrado Rovaris (conductor), Choir of the Opéra de Lausanne, Véronique Carrot (Choir Master).

When I heard that the small Théâtre Municipal de Lausanne, now exclusively an opera theatre, was going t o tackle a great Verdian opera like Rigoletto, I was not convinced that the result would be as impressive. The smallness of the theatre has an advantage: it has very precise acoustics, therefore there is little room for unheard mistakes.

One often hears that there is no bad orchestra, but only bad the conductors, which, in fact, is only partly true. The performance of Rigoletto in Lausanne proved the contrary: the conductor was excellent and so was the orchestra! The Sinfonietta of Lausanne is a young and rather small orchestra that surprised us last night by its intensity and sound. It is learning and growing in quality, and Maestro Rovaris has to be praised for that. He gave the greatness of a famous symphony orchestra to the Sinfonietta.

Maestro Rovaris has promised us to clean Rigoletto of its "fioritures" and extra high coloratura whirls, and be very faithful to the way Verdi wanted it to sound. This could be heard especially in Gilda’s "Caro nome" cavatina p erformed divinely by Monica Colonna. Her tessitura is perfect, and she uses a technique were there is little vibrato, as a result she has a very pure voice, at times almost angelical. Stephano Antonucci as Rigoletto was very intense and dramatic, the ground thanked him with its warmest applause. Whereas our Duca, Justin lavender, did not perform at his best. His highs seemed painful and besides two giant voices like Colonna and Antonucci, he seemed not really at the level --at least from what we could hear last night. May be this role does not really fit his voice. The men’s choir, also, brought us a grand performance.

Stéphane Braunschweig’s coffins were the recurrent theme of this quite minimalist production. Showing us the female victims of the Duke, but also the symbol of the malediction spelled against Rigoletto and the Duke. One moment of laughter, in this sinister tragedy, is the bed on which the Duke flies up during his sleep through the storm and murder of Gilda. He is put a side, on an other floor, but stays in the scene. Finally Gilda dies in another coffin as the other victims of the Duke of Mantua.

Zoltan Bécsi



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