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Lincoln Center, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
Ended 17 Dec 2015 after 58 days
Musically, the performance standard was high but also full of dramatic truth.
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Director Michael Mayer's hit production of Verdi's powerful tragedy sees 1500s Mantua replaced by a seedy and gaudy Las Vegas in 1960; the ideal setting for this eternal conflict of depravity and innocence. As with many operas, the themes of revenge, mistaken identities and divine intervention feature heavily in this; something that was quite hidden in Victor Hugo's original novel until Verdi put it to music.
Although not as strong a condemnation of class division and injustice as originally imagined by Victor Hugo, we see how a boastful and cruel henchman pays a heavy price for mocking a powerful man. We see a fabulously rich Duke, owner of a casino boast of his prowess with women, and later seduce the daughter of Rigoletto, his henchman and former comedian, who in turn mocks the visiting Arab tycoon Monterone, who accuses the Duke (correctly as it happens) of seducing HIS daughter as well.
Directing a curse at Rigoletto for his poor taste in fellowship, this worries the comedian, and he directs his household to protect his innocent daughter Gilda from the machinations of the Duke and company. However, this goes awry when Gilda is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity by the Duke's own men, believing her to be Rigoletto's mistress instead.
Rigoletto discovers that the Duke has deflowered his daughter, and vows to avenge her honor, and Monterone by killing the Duke. However, he has not counted on his besotted daughter, who is determined to do anything for her beloved Duke - even die for him.
A drama that is more twisted than anything Shakespeare could have dreamt up, the Vegas-set tragedy brings a new context to this medieval tale.
Opening night: 20 October 2015
Closing night: 17 December 2015
Suitable for ages 12 and up
Three hours with two intermissions
Sung in Italian with Met subtitles in English, German, Italian and Spanish
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