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Thread: Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Germany

          
   
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  1. #1
    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Arrow Rigoletto at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Germany

    Rigoletto, by Giuseppe Verdi, at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Germany

    This review is for the performance of Friday, 24 June, 2016.

    Conductor: Giampaolo Bisanti
    Director: Jan Bosse

    Cast

    Duke of Mantua: Yosep Kang
    Rigoletto: George Gagnidze
    Gilda: Olga Peretyatko
    Count Monterone: Bastiaan Everink
    Count Ceprano: Andrew Harris
    Countess Ceprano: Elbenita Kajtazi
    Marullo: Thomas Lehman
    Sparafucile: Albert Pesendorfer
    Maddalena: Annika Schlicht
    Giovanna: Annika Schlicht

    Yosep Kang substituted for Brian Hymel in last night's performance. No explanation was given.

    It was very hot here in Berlin the past couple of days (90 - 94 F), notable because I am staying with a friend who does not have air conditioning. The humidity, generally, is half what is normal in Washington on a summer's day, but the roundabout point is that the Deutsche Oper's opera house is air-conditioned.

    Walking into the theater to take our seats - the practice here is that the doors to the opera house are kept locked until about 10 minutes before the performance when a buzzer rings that alerts the staff to open the doors - the stage setting was quite disorienting: there did not appear to be a stage. Instead, there was the mirror image of the opera house itself, with seats, walls and doors that matched the auditorium seating. As the audience entered, similarly dressed people (i.e., in street clothes) also entered and sat and chatted with their seatmates as we were doing. What's up with that, I wondered?

    The prelude commenced and a large figure walked in dressed in, well, tinsel. He walked over to the first row, grabbed the gentleman seated in 'his' seat, pulled him up and shoved him off to the side and plopped down. I had not thought to read the synopsis beforehand - it's Rigoletto, right? But now was totally off center in what was happening. I stopped to think and recalled that Rigoletto was a court jester, so that piece began to fit. The prelude ended and the Duke of Mantua entered on to a cat-walk (I hadn't noticed) that ran between the orchestra and the audience and sang 'Questa o quella' - competently, but nothing exceptional.

    It's difficult to describe the action as the a set behind the stage seating appeared from underneath the stage to reveal Rigoletto's home and his scene with Gilda. Olga Peretyatko sang a beautifully executed 'Caro nome' - and seriously looked the part of a young girl, as well. The stage action revolved around the raising and lowering of different pieces of the set, ultimately with the entire set disappearing to reveal the bare stage and back stage elements for the final scene with Rigoletto opening the body bag and his Gilda. This was an exceptionally well-sung performance with George Gagnidze as a terrific Rigoletto and Yosep Kang ultimately warming up to sing a real crowd-pleasing 'La donna e mobile'.

    The Deutsche Oper production turns Rigoletto into something other than that with which I am familiar. Every performance I've seen in DC has been traditional - period settings and costumes and all. It was consistently interesting, and I kept trying to figure out what was going on until I gave up, sat back, and decided to enjoy it for what it was. I'm generally not that much of a fan of the opera, but this kind of production added a lot of interest and allowed the music to shine without resorting to cliche.

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Amfortas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hoffmann View Post
    The Deutsche Oper production turns Rigoletto into something other than that with which I am familiar.
    Well, you know . . . Berlin.

  3. Likes Hoffmann, MAuer, Soave_Fanciulla liked this post

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