Rigoletto Review – Scottish Opera

Rating: ★★★★☆

Here’s the review that I wrote for Opera Britannia of Scottish Opera’s current Rigoletto:

From the moment the curtain went up on this stylish and beautifully sung Rigoletto, it was clear that this was going to be a confident production. We saw a dark, blank stage with only a simple door, drawn slightly carelessly as though with chalk. It was but the first of many bold visual images which punctuated an assured and very satisfying musical achievement.

This single door soon gave way to a barrier wall, upon which red curtaining had been painted, which consisted of a further series of doors, through which we could glimpse a ball in progress. What was not immediately apparent was that when we first caught sight of the malevolent chorus of courtiers, they were not in fact dancing with real women at all but with a series of mannequins. These eerie plastic figures were to recur throughout the evening in what was to prove a strong and well thought through staging. The twenty-six strong chorus themselves, when not larking about with mannequins, were in good heart and good voice throughout.

The first to shine on stage was Edgaras Montvidas whose Duke of Mantua was a force to be reckoned with. This duke was a cocky soul, strutting his stuff whenever he was on stage. Montvidas has a voice which perfectly matched the bravado which he brought to his part. This was a Duke who was arrogant, brash, conceited and vain but it was clear too that he had a great deal on offer vocally to be conceited about. His Parmi veder le lagrime in the second act seemed particularly effortless and whilst it is difficult to bring anything new to La donna è mobile, Montvidas gave an assured rendition all the same.

The Duke’s jester, Rigoletto was played by Eddie Wade.  Here was a brilliant performance. Wade’s unfortunate hunchback [Read more…]

Four quick theatre reviews

I’ve been out quite a lot recently. Here are some quick reviews.

  • Sunset Song at the Kings, Glasgow – excellent production which could perhaps have been improved with surtitles. The Doric became no easier as the night went on. Although I enjoyed this, I left the theatre delighted that the National Theatre of Scotland was not doing this kind of thing. Lay somewhere in the theatrical space bordered on one side by Lark Rise to Candleford at the National and the Irish National Folk Theatre of Tralee on the other.
  • Don Juan at the Citz – far too clever a production for its own good. Three prologues one after another seemed a terribly long way to get into the action. The gratuitous nude scene involving a shower curtain as the opener was well done and completely gratuituous. Time travel like this can work on the stage but one left the theatre feeling as though sometimes it should be left to Dr Who.
  • Noises Off at the Kings – excellent. Such a good place. The farceur’s farce. Left me realising that I work in a Noises Off Congregation.
  • Six Acts of Love at the Tron tonight. A mediocre play reasonably well acted. The denoument was unbelieveable and yet so very predictable. How very odd that it was not marketed in Glasgay, yet a gay audience would be be the least likely to believe in it. Yet, the frustration of Alzheimer’s was all too real to behold.