Bari – Teatro Petruzzelli: La Traviata
Is it possible the there is one Musical Opinion reader who has never seen La Traviata? And maybe is it also possible this reader has not formed an opinion about the central character before even seeing the opera? And maybe this reader also has a great degree of...
New Recital Series at Leighton House from Lisa Peacock Concert Management
Lisa Peacock Concert Management Ltd announces the greatly anticipated appearance in London of Juan Pérez Floristán, Gold Medallist of the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition 2021 in music by Chopin, Liszt, Wagner/Liszt and Beethoven on Saturday...
Berlin Musikfest 2022
Berlin’s Musikfest attracts some of the world’s finest musicians and is a fine addition to the opening week of the new concert season at the Philharmonie. The concert on August 25 introduced German audiences to the newly appointed Klaus Mäkelä as the Artistic Partner...
The 2022 Presteigne Festival celebrated forty years of inspiring music-making in Radnorshire with a characteristically eclectic and carefully planned series of concerts taking place over six days in late August. Several exciting festival commissions and premieres...
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Opera North: Rigoletto
If you stroll around the ever-expanding Salford Quays complex these days, you will see a very different Media City to the one when the Lowry Theatre first opened more than 20 years ago. BBC and ITV studios, hotels, bars, restaurants, apartment blocks, trams and an outlet shopping centre have transformed the area and it is pleasing to see the architecturally eccentric Lowry Theatre still holding its own as the major attraction of the area. As such, it is a perfect place for Opera North to hold a week long residency, culminating in a wonderful new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto on March 12th.
Such a theatre deserves a production to match and Opera North really raised the bar with their revamp of one of Verdi’s most gripping works. With a curious range of modern and ancient costumes, unexpected jokes (such as a bicycle pizza delivery), and a set that began with a monochrome cube and moved through vibrant colours, ending up next to the burnt-out wreck of a car!
Whatever the conceptual intentions, it was the performances that captured the interest. After a stirring performance of the Ukrainian National Anthem, conductor Garry Walker and the orchestra beautifully supported the singers and realised Verdi’s inventiveness with gusto. In a very strong cast (including the 75-year-old Sir Willard White deliciously dishing out the curse as Count Monterone) it was Eric Greene’s multi-faceted depiction of Rigoletto that dominated the stage on his every entry. A magnificent stage presence and a voice that reflected every conceivable emotion. For my mind though, the performance I will remember most is Jasmine Habersham as Gilda. What a voice! Ping on accuracy, power, variety and, in the duets with Greene, the most telling moments in the whole opera.
Elsewhere, Roman Arndt swaggered magnificently as the Duke, Callum Thorpe exuded pure menace as Sparafucile and Alyona Abramova excelled as his gold-digging sister, Maddalena. Super lighting effects, particularly for the storm and some terrific movement and singing from the men’s chorus added to the quality. Opera North are back at their best.