Rigoletto brought a fresh spin to the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series on Saturday, as the opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi, originally set in 16th-century Italy, was given a facelift and reproduced as a Las Vegas spectacular.
Think 1960's Rat Pack, complete with showgirls and casinos. The vivid interpretation of the Las Vegas setting was both thrilling and refreshing for audience members and the performers without being a distraction from the beautiful arias and Verdi's raw and passionate compositions.
Christine Jones, Kevin Adams and Susan Hilferty - the set, lighting and costume designer, respectively - completely transformed the grand stage at the Metropolitan production house into a hip Las Vegas scene, which fully captured the glamour, exquisiteness and intrigue of the alluring sin city.
modernising the story
The new production by Michael Mayer maintains the original storyline, but completely revamps the setting. The storyline translated well in its new vessel and Mayer demonstrated the transcendence of the Verdi masterpiece, retelling the story from a more modern platform.
The opera follows the title character, Rigoletto, as a series of comedic and unfortunate events leads to the deterioration of his character from the Duke's hunched-back sidekick and comedian, who finds joy in ridiculing others, to a broken and dejected soul.
The opera is rigged with irony and comedic relief, but in the end unfolds into another one of Verdi's great tragedies. The doomed Rigoletto is cursed in act one of the opera and, from this instant, his sarcastic and mocking tone changes into one of paranoia and desperation as the curse casts a dark shadow which Rigoletto is determined to avoid.
Whether it was some dark mysticism or Rigoletto's superstition that ultimately led to his great tragedy is not clear. But, in the end, Rigoletto saw Monterone's cursed fulfilled.
The performers were able to convey Verdi's masterpiece without getting lost in all the excitement of the Las Vegas setting. The pleasant turnout at Carib 5 seemed to have been won over on Saturday.
Rigoletto will encore at 11:30a.m. on Sunday at Cineplex in Sovereign, Odeon in Mandeville and Multiplex in Montego Bay before another new production, Wagner's Parsifal, graces the Met stage on March 2.
There are only three operas left in the Met's Live in HD series (Wagner's Parsifal, Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini and a new production of Handel's Giulio Cesare), so those who have not yet experienced the drama, epic productions and moving compositions of the opera have some opportunities left.