[Met Performance] CID:266310
Rigoletto {583} Metropolitan Opera House: 10/19/1981.

(Debuts: Richard J. Clark, David Sell
Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
October 19, 1981


RIGOLETTO {583}
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave

Rigoletto...............Matteo Manuguerra
Gilda...................Judith Blegen
Duke of Mantua..........Juan Lloveras
Maddalena...............Isola Jones
Sparafucile.............Jerome Hines
Monterone...............Richard J. Clark [Debut]
Borsa...................Dana Talley
Marullo.................John Darrenkamp
Count Ceprano...........Norman Andersson
Countess Ceprano........Loretta Di Franco
Giovanna................Batyah Godfrey Ben-David
Page....................Joyce Olson
Guard...................Glenn Bater

Conductor...............Giuseppe Patanč

Production..............John Dexter
Stage Director..........David Sell [Debut]
Designer................Tanya Moiseiwitsch
Lighting designer.......Gil Wechsler
Choreographer...........Norbert Vesak

Rigoletto received twenty-three performances this season.

Review of Speight Jenkins in the Post

A new Rigoletto who rings the bell

In Matteo Manuguerra the Metropolitan Opera last night found a real Rigoletto. The Italian baritone did not just sing the role well, he eloquently used his voice and his body to convey the character's anguish, frustration and pain.His voice is large and well focused, but other baritones have more orotund voices. Indeed, the slight edge in Manuguerra's instrument makes Verdi's Jester that much more real.

What makes him special is how much he makes you care for the character. One insight after another painted the deformed hunchback who loves his daughter so unwisely if so well. Invariably, he synthesized word and tone unforgettably in his abject plea for the courtiers' mercy in Act II and his later vow of vengeance at that act's curtain. His cry against the curse at the opera's end seemed not a vocal expression but the annihilation of a spirit. Giuseppe Patane, in his seasonal return to the Met, aided him in every way, conducting a brisk, intelligent performance that never lagged and had lots of temperament. No routine came from the pit.

As Gilda, Judith Blegen sounded more intense and Italianate that I can remember her, singing a lovely "Caro Nome" (with a wonderful final trill), a passionate close of Act II and a moving, well-phrased death scene.

Opera is rarely Eden and the drawback in this performance was one Juan Lloveras, the Duke. After two acts of slurring most of his phrases and singing invariably loudly, however, he turned out a stronger final act with better high notes and some blending in the quartet.

Richard J. Clark made a sonorous debut as Monterone, and Jerome Hines sang a malevolent Sparafucile. Tanya Moiseiwitsch's set still looks like the Witch's house in "Hansel and Gretel" on a bad day. But nothing could detract from the vocal drama of Manuguerra.



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