Monday, October 8, 2012

Rigoletto at Pittsburgh Opera, Revenge the Italian Renaissance Way

Rigoletto at Pittsburgh Opera

Pittsburgh Symphony 
October 6, 9, 12, 14 2012
REVIEW by JoAnn R. Forrester


 The prime time soap Revenge, that so many are loving to watch with its sex, vengeance, murder, betrayal, dastardly people, sexual conquests and scandals has met its match and MUCH more in Verdi’s opera RIGOLETT0.  We think, today, we live in immoral and scandalous times…hah! It is nothing compared to the Italian Renaissance where excess was the rule.  Fabulous amazing art was created and flourished during that period … but the morals of the time were centered on the pleasure and revenge principal. Life for the rich, powerful and nobility was one constant hunt for pleasure and relief from boredom.

I love the opera for many reasons.  First let me explain I am not musically trained.  I do not have the ear of a music coach.  I am lucky that I know  women sing alto, soprano, mezzo soprano, contralto, men think bass, tenor  and baritone (I hope this is right).  What I love about the opera is how the drama and foibles of life are portrayed.  I find myself engulfed in the drama and music.  I lose myself and I am transported to that time and period. 

Rigoletto was filled with performances I enjoyed.  The singing, the dramatic acting, the costumes (on and off stage) the scenery, all conveyed this mesmerizing and yet dangerous age.  The search for pleasure rules the day.  The wealthy and powerful seek relief from boredom by affairs, intrigues while maintaining their power by political manipulation, cruelty, power and assassinations.

The story centers around Rigoletto, the court jester, a hunch back, who wields his personal bitterness into a sharp tongue to amuse, jab and make fools of all those involved in Duke Mantua’s court.  While he amuses the Duke he antagonizes many of his “followers” and they look for ways to make a “fool” out of him.
Photos by David Bachman for Pittsburgh Opera

Rigoletto has a secret….he has a daughter.  Gilda, young, beautiful, terribly naïve, and longing for romance. He loves her and wants to protect her from all harm. And of course that cannot happen.  His love for her and desire for vengeance after the Dukes betrayal becomes the source of his downfall and ultimate tragedy.

I invite you go see this fabulous Italian opera.Rigoletto.  You will enjoy the experience of the sights, sounds and ambiance of it.   Go and have a wonderful time indulging your secret soap opera fantasies.

Also for those classic opera fans my Italian, opera loving companion tells me you will not be disappointed by Michael W. Lee’s Rendition of “La Donna e Mobile”.  TechnoGranny says the aria was an instant success as soon as this opera hit its original stage in Venice and a classic hit today.   She remembers her Italian uncle Si Pepe, singing it repeatedly around their home when she was a young girl.


JoAnn Forrester is the Host of Empress of Biz, Reinvent in Rugged Times, a business Talkcast syndicated on PPLMag, Pittsburgh's First Internet Radio and TV Network.  You can hear JoAnn at Business friends every Thursday at 9 AM on the TalkShoe network or archived later at: 

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