Verdi’s Rigoletto has an enduring place in the operatic canon because its music is divine and its story is unforgettable. Lyric Opera’s latest Rigoletto recently closed, but not without making a big impression.
The greatest revelation in this current production is the lovely voice of soprano Albina Shagimuratova, whose Gilda is all that anyone could ask for. She has a purity of sound but also power. She has stage presence. And most importantly, she has good chemistry with both Zeljko Lucic (Rigoletto) and Guiseppe Filianoti (the Duke of Mantua).
Filianoti comes close to stealing the show, with his white-hot tenor making it easy to believe he could seduce any woman he chooses. But the poor singer is put in a most ridiculous position early in the opera as he is made to prance about in his tighty-whities. He doesn’t look sexy or even sexually menacing, but rather quite silly.
Lucic as the title character has a kind of gravitas that this role requires, yet he sometimes seems distant and cold, making it hard for the audience to identify with his character.
Andrea Silvestrelli (who appeared in Meistersinger as well as Bohème this season) is a perfect Sparafucile. He’s sung this role before at Lyric, and there can be no doubt that his rumbling bass is tailor-made for the assassin who knows both how to promote his service but also takes customer service seriously. His powerful voice continued to rumble even after he made his first exit from the stage, creating a lingering dark atmosphere.
Even Rogister commands the Lyric Opera Orchestra with a steady hand, creating good color in the pit combined with nice pacing.
The revolving set is attractive if unimaginative. The costumes are bright and add interest.
But it’s the music that you will remember, long after the curtain has come down.