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Rigoletto is hardly an advert for good family relations, but at least he tries, which is more than anyone else so far. But of course it all goes wrong as the Duke gets involved and derails the father-daughter relationship for the fun of it. The opera was filmed at Bregenz last summer, and is more than just a tourist souvenir of an enjoyable evening. Philipp Stölzl’s production manages to focus attention on the right character at the right time, not easy given the scale of the floating stage and the enormous set – for Rigoletto this consists of a giant clown’s head, emphasizing Stölzl’s circus theme, with the Duke as ringmaster. Once the idea is established the production progresses traditionally. One question – I assume that Gilda is dressed as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, but her unfortunate blond wig leads us more in the direction of Bette Davies in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?. What singers have to endure! Mélissa Petit surmounts her outfit with aplomb and sings and acts a strong Gilda – her soprano has a pleasingly old-fashioned fast tone to it. Stephen Costello sings with more panache than he emotes as the Duke, but is generally very good. Vladimir Stoyanov’s Rigoletto is wonderfully played, moving in the extreme, and beautifully sung. His baritone offers golden tone and legato that also remind one of singers of yore. Enrique Mazzola’s conducting is pacey and confident.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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