By Giuseppe Verdi

Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo

Performers: Guido LeBron (Rigoletto), Stephen Costello (The Duke), Megan Monaghan (Gilda); John DeMain conducting the Madison Symphony Orchestra

November 17, 2006

What happens to a Too Stupid to Live heroine when she migrates from a romance novel to an opera? She DIES. Which is entertaining in and of itself. You can read more about the plot here.

Because of my recent time crunch, I was unable to devote two hours to listening to this opera before we saw the performance last week -- a circumstance that turned out for the best. Honestly, if I had listened to Rigoletto or known more about its story in advance, I do not think we would have purchased tickets. Gilda is simply one of the most moronic characters I have ever seen in any medium. That said, going into the performance with no fore-knowledge kept the experience entertaining. Keven and I refrained from looking at the program notes, too. That way, when the finale found us, we were equally surprised and flabbergasted. She did WHAT? Moron.

As with Tosca last year, we were massively impressed with the set design, apparently borrowed from the Cincinnati Opera for this performance. (I didn't even realize Cincinnati had an opera. If they've hidden it in Over-the-Rhine, that might explain my ignorance.) But the costumes and sets were amazing, big-time eye candy, and the performers delivered the goods. Monaghan's voice sounded thin and child-like in places -- adding to her characters' innocence but revealing her lack of vocal prowess -- but Costello's Duke was enthralling and charismatic.

We see Bizet's The Pearl Fishers in April. I think I'll refrain from listening to that one, too, just in case another TSTL heroine threatens my enjoyment of an otherwise exceptional evening.

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