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No dice

“The Met took a gamble on a new production of Rigoletto Monday night—but, dramatically at least, the show crapped out…. It’s your grandfather’s Rigoletto, tarted up like a musical version of Ocean’s Eleven.” [New York Post]

44 comments

  • Simon Blackmouth says:

    Sure, the Met deserves credit for trying something new with this “Rigoletto.” But what happened in Vegas should have stayed in Mantua.

    Well played, sir. Well played.

  • bassoprofundo says:

    Odd that during the chat the other night everyone to a man thought that Beczala sounded underwhelming (and that’s a compliment), whereas most of the in-house reviews thought he did quite well.

    At the very least his voice sounded… different. As if it had lost some of its brilliance and shine from years before. Good or bad, I wonder—did JJ notice a difference in Beczala’s voice compared to, say, the Lucias he sang in in 2008?

    • Krunoslav says:

      Beczala sounded very good throughout in the house. Lacks a bit of italian morbidezza, but there’s not that much needed in this part. Kind of a Gedda-ish approach, as often from him. To me, the clear star of the evening.

      • JJ says:

        I agree. Beczala was definitely “singing out” and maybe a note or two here or there was a notch past optimum beauty. But he sounded really really fine, musical, with a great spin on the tone. In fact, I was marveling at how young he sounded, a tenor in his mid 40s, who has been singing professionally for two decades or more.

      • oedipe says:

        I am sure Grigolo in the second cast will have plenty of italianate morbidezza. Problem is, he is too Italian and “greasy” for Parterrian tastes.

    • Chanterelle says:

      The difference between internet feed and live in-house can be striking. I quite enjoyed Opolais’s debut in the theater on opening night while friends listening online had nothing good to say.

      • Will says:

        Thank you, Chanterelle — I had exactly the same impression — this is really OK, but what was all the shouting about?

    • bluecabochon says:

      As some of us opined to you, Basso, in chat, who were actually in the house for the Rigoletto final dress last Friday, Beczala sounded great, but you chose to not acknowledge that. NOT everyone agreed with your pronouncements that he is in the final moments of his career, if you remember. He also sounded brilliant in Manon last season. Maybe you need to see him live one of these days.

    • grimoaldo says:

      “during the chat the other night everyone to a man thought that Beczala sounded underwhelming (and that’s a compliment)”

      Not.

  • SF Guy says:

    The Vegas concept for Rigoletto is not exactly new--Julien Temple got there 25 years ago (more entertainingly, I suspect) in Aria:

    (If this has already been posted somewhere, my apologies.)

    • SF Guy says:

      (Technically it’s not Vegas, but the Madonna Inn is about as close as you can come without leaving California, right down to Elvis.)

    • Often admonished says:

      You’ve all forgotten Dr Jonathan’s ENO 1955 Little Italy update which actually said it all, much better. It was loudly condemned by Italian-American garbage contractors when ENO toured it to the MET.

      Pity the Vicar doesn’t seem to be around to remind you in excruciating detail.

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        Geschlosene Vorstellung! Perhaps it would be wise for the MET to consider presenting a closed performance for the Italian-American garbage contractors, who could cart the whole thing away if they did not like it.

      • Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Actually it has been fairly extensively discussed on here in the run up to this new Met Rigoletto.

      • The Vicar of John Wakefield says:

        Indeed, Often, Rawnsley was the most credible Rigoletto since that fine Aussie Brownlee; nor has there ever been--at least since the halcyon days of Gwen Catley wowing the crowds in the “Hi-de-Hi” revue--a finer “Sweet name” than that sung in good, clean English by Helen Field.

        Cheers!

      • m. croche says:

        You’ve all forgotten Dr Jonathan’s ENO 1955 Little Italy update

        Ahem

    • Camille says:

      That was a fun blast from the past—Big Hair and VHS tapes and all! Had I known the Madonna Inn, which I’ve driven past a dozen times, was that much fun I’d have stopped over there.

      Thanks, as I had completely forgotten this segment of ARIA. All I recalled was the Tote Stadt and Ballo in Maschera and Tristan segments. Maybe I will go looking for that film, on YouTube or elsewhere.

      • luvtennis says:

        Cher Camille:

        I was just watching bits of “Absolute Beginners” on Youtube last week. All I could think was how much things have changed since the late 80s. Sade was great though!

  • ianw2 says:

    Golly, seems to be a lot of talkin’ and yammerin’ about the singin’ in this review.

  • pasavant says:

    Too much bad conducting this season. The Russian guy who led the Otello was dreadful. Ion Marin( SP?) who conducted Rondine led a ragged first act followed by mere routine! The Met needs to get back to basics.

    • Belfagor says:

      I sense the Met does not have a comprehensive rolodex when it comes to conductors. So many years of Levine’s sharp elbows keeping many quality conductors at bay…………?

      • Quanto Painy Fakor says:

        Yes, for years they hired conductors who would be sure to make Levine look good (which of course he was on so many occasions). But now they don’t know the difference and this Rigoletto fetus conductor is not ready for prime time.

        • RosinaLeckermaul says:

          I’m going to wait to judge Mariotti when I see RIGOLETTO on 2/19. The TIMES praised his conducting, so there is disagreement. However, to play the old record again, the Met needs a new, young, dynamic Music Director (like Levine 30 years ago). A semi-invalid working some with the young artists program and conducting three operas (maybe) is not a music director.

      • messa di voce says:

        “I sense the Met does not have a comprehensive rolodex when it comes to conductors.”

        Let’s see. Gelb’s added Muti, YNS, Rattle, Christie for starters Maazel is coming back. Bychkov (the Russian guy) gets major gigs everywhere. I don’t like all of them, but it’s a fairly impressive crew.

  • phoenix says:

    Thanks for your review, especially the musical/vocal detail -- an inhouse opinion takes precedence over what I hear on the radio.

  • Poison Ivy says:

    well I have a ticket to see this Feb 8th. I can’t wait personally.

  • jd says:

    to reiterate what i’ve said before, all three principals sounded terrific in the house at the Friday dress rehearsal including and esp Beczala. Can’t wait to go again to the Met for the Sat matinee on Feb 16th!