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Rigoletto

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ENTERTAINMENT
March 4, 1993 | By Lesley Valdes, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Rigoletto loved his daughter - to death. The Pennsylvania Opera Theater enlisted the services of an advertising specialist a while ago who came up with that catchy tag line, as well as a couple of others it is using to promote its season. Rigoletto loved his daughter to death. That's not a bad way to pinpoint Verdi's thrilling opera - which begins Pennsylvania Opera Theater's season Saturday night at the Merriam Theater after the company took a winter hiatus to recover from major debt.
NEWS
November 7, 1989 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The Metropolitan Opera has renovated its Rigoletto, giving the new production a look of super-realism but leaving the drama with a sense of coolness and distance. Otto Schenck's new staging was unveiled Friday, with whole parts of an Italian city re-created on stage by Zack Brown. Whether the city was Mantua, however, became a question because of its detailed construction. The towers looked more like Assisi, and architectural historians may even now be picking over the stones to settle the matter.
NEWS
October 10, 2000 | by Tom Di Nardo, Daily News Classical Music Writer
GIUSEPPE VERDI: "RIGOLETTO. " Opera Company of Philadelphia production with baritone Christopher Robertson, soprano Maureen O'Flynn, tenor Misha Didyk. Maurizio Barbacini conducting, direction by Marco Pucci-Catena. Performances at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and Oct. 18, 8 p.m. Friday and Oct. 20 and 2:30 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 22 at Academy of Music, Broad and Locust streets. Tickets: $21-$89. Info: 215-893-1999. "Rigoletto" is vintage Verdi, bursting with the extremes of human nature and all the operatic motives of love, venality and violence in Victor Hugo's story.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 30, 1995 | By Daniel Webster, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
A week before the opening trumpet notes of Rigoletto, crews were putting up barricades in front of the stage. "We were laughing," said Amy Fishman of the Camden County Parks Department. "I mean, is this the kind of crowd that will rush the stage?" It hasn't yet, but in the eight years that the county has sponsored the Metropolitan Opera's performances in Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, crowds have regularly topped 10,000 - and usually the sea of picnickers, roller bladers, bikers and listeners in lawn chairs swells to more than 12,000.
NEWS
November 7, 2005 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
As if there's not enough opera around here already? The art form long considered too labor-intensive to be viable is now represented by no fewer than two overlapping Opera Company of Philadelphia productions (Un Ballo in Maschera and Barber of Seville) plus Curtis Opera Theatre's Magic Flute coming up midmonth. Healthy competition, though, is coming from Opera Delaware's solid-and-then-some Rigoletto, whose production and casting are the most consistent and polished in my periodic visits to the ingratiating Wilmington Grand Opera House.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 30, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Artistic crossroads are rarely serene periods in the lives of opera singers. Though new repertoire decisions can yield better careers, every James Morris (whose profile burgeoned when he took on Wagner) is vastly outnumbered by those who made bad decisions and ruined their voices. So when tenor Matthew Polenzani, 39, seems to be slipping effortlessly from Mozart to Verdi in his first staged Rigoletto, opening Friday with Opera Company of Philadelphia, seasoned operagoers can be forgiven for their incredulity when he says, "It's not a transition at all. " You can almost believe that, watching him stroll casually into rehearsal with Crosby, Stills and Nash on his iPod, chatting playfully on his cell phone with his wife at their home in Pelham, N.Y. When he sings, it's as light and lyrical as Verdi is ever likely to be. This is a voice that's also at home in the miniaturist world of Schubert art songs, which he'll sing in a recital Nov. 29 presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 2007 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto," opening the Opera Company of Philadelphia season, is considered the first of the composer's mature works. His love of Shakespeare came through in the composer's complex characterizations and stories of conflict between the individual and rigid authority, which made for perfect theatrical drama. "Rigoletto" was based on a Victor Hugo play about a complex, philandering ruler that was banned in Paris after its first performance. Verdi saw more dramatic potential in the character of the hunchback jester, a mocking, capricious spirit whose only redeeming feature is his love for his daughter, Gilda.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 26, 2000 | By David Patrick Stearns, INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Opera can survive just about anything when those making it know precisely what they're doing. That much was clear when the Metropolitan Opera alighted at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken on Saturday for a free outdoor concert performance of Rigoletto, part of the 34th season of the Met in the Parks Concert Series - the parks stretching from New Haven, Conn., to here. Distractions from a Mister Softee truck, a fireworks display beyond the trees, and the usual inattentive kids were dwarfed by this vivid encounter with Verdi.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Like some nocturnal flower, opera tends to wilt when exposed to direct sunlight. Lucky for Rigoletto that it's mostly an indoor/nighttime opera in this latest site-specific TV film, produced by Andrea Andermann, who has also shot Tosca and La Traviata on location in their original places and time frames. "Rigoletto From Mantua," which comes to WHYY at 3 p.m. on Sunday from PBS's Great Performances , is more consistently convincing than the others. Though the veracity of original settings goes only so far, the novelty tends to galvanize audiences who might not normally make time for another Rigoletto , even one with Placido Domingo.
NEWS
May 2, 2006 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Within the first few seconds of the Academy of Vocal Arts' new Rigoletto production, you had to ask yourself how long it had been since this opera had been a truly terrorizing experience. Conductor Christofer Macatsoris made the opera's prelude erupt with all kinds of sordid news - that a profoundly corrupt hunchback court jester would be destroyed while trying to do the right thing, that the truly good would die, and that the truly bad would live. And not once did you think anything that kept you at a distance from the opera - like "Oh, how melodramatic.
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NEWS
February 7, 2016 | David Patrick Stearns, Classical Music Critic
The jungle drums began in September, weeks after the August 2015 season of the former Center City Opera, now rechristened Vulcan Lyric. They portended so much trouble that some opera administrators might think twice about repeating the experience. The 28 performances over 18 days at the Prince Theater were a mixed success. One of the best of the four productions, Tom Cipullo's Glory Denied , about a Vietnam War veteran, had played to as few as 20 listeners. Special discounted tickets sold well, but the discounts cut into revenue.
NEWS
November 2, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
T he other day at the Metropolitan Opera, Philadelphia tenor Stephen Costello was about to sing his second-act aria in a Rigoletto rehearsal when Plácido Domingo walked in, just to watch. "Which wasn't intimidating at all," Costello said with molto irony. But the elder tenor-turned-baritone later ran into Costello in the Met cafeteria - a little hard to imagine - praised him to the skies, suggested he investigate a certain kind of phrasing favored by Enrico Caruso. "He's like this grandfather . . . he just makes you feel so good," Costello said.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 15, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
So often, multitudes of theatrical sins in Metropolitan Opera productions are disguised by deft camera work in the live simulcasts that are beamed out to movie theaters around the world. But in the new Rigoletto , on local screens at 12:55 p.m. Saturday (with a March 6 encore), the sins are what we want. Now set in 1960s Las Vegas by Broadway stage director Michael Mayer, Rigoletto receives what has to be one of the most vulgar productions of its 160-year history, and it could well have caused an opening-night scandal.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 28, 2012 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The overture promises Verdi at his more dire - Rigoletto , only bloodier. And then his first-ever opera, the rarely performed Oberto , written in 1839 when the composer was 26, unfolds like a manifesto of operatic revisionism. The past is touched upon and the future is predicted in the concert version presented Thursday by the Academy of Vocal Arts at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater. The plot doesn't amount to much: Another strong-minded heroine named Leonora confronts another faithless seducer named Riccardo.
NEWS
October 6, 2011 | By Peter Dobrin, Inquirer Music Critic
Julian Rodescu, 58, who parlayed a busy vocal career and a deep love of music into a day job helping young musicians reach the next career level, died Saturday. A large man with a tender heart and gentle mien, Mr. Rodescu was a familiar sight around Broad and Locust Streets, where he would often settle in with a cell phone to conduct business as artistic director of Astral Artists, an organization providing professional development for promising classical talent. He had assisted the two-decade-old group in its early days, and assumed the role of artistic director in 2009.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 16, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Like some nocturnal flower, opera tends to wilt when exposed to direct sunlight. Lucky for Rigoletto that it's mostly an indoor/nighttime opera in this latest site-specific TV film, produced by Andrea Andermann, who has also shot Tosca and La Traviata on location in their original places and time frames. "Rigoletto From Mantua," which comes to WHYY at 3 p.m. on Sunday from PBS's Great Performances , is more consistently convincing than the others. Though the veracity of original settings goes only so far, the novelty tends to galvanize audiences who might not normally make time for another Rigoletto , even one with Placido Domingo.
NEWS
February 13, 2009 | CHRISTINE M. FLOWERS
WITH A NAME like Flowers, you wouldn't think I was Italian. Don't be fooled. While only half my DNA qualifies me for paisana status, it's the dominant part of my personality. Which, in simple terms, means every emotion I've ever had has been pumped up on steroids. Italians don't feel, we emote. We don't hate, we despise. We don't love, we adore. And we don't steal. We plunder. To us, life is an opera. And quite frankly, Verdi would have loved to build a masterpiece around a man, who, depending upon your predilections, has been a valued and effective public servant or one of the most corrupt pols to ever grace the Philadelphia stage.
NEWS
October 9, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The success of any Rigoletto production is partly measured by its danger factor. If the opera makes you feel like a cornered animal (as did the Christofer Macatsoris-conducted Academy of Vocal Arts outing a few seasons back), it's delivering a true Verdi experience. This is a horrific tale of a hunchback court jester trying to assassinate his nobleman employer. And if it feels like a remote costume drama, you're probably watching the 1977 Metropolitan Opera DVD that's too nicely staged and beautifully sung (Placido Domingo, et al.)
ENTERTAINMENT
October 5, 2007 | By TOM DI NARDO For the Daily News
Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto," opening the Opera Company of Philadelphia season, is considered the first of the composer's mature works. His love of Shakespeare came through in the composer's complex characterizations and stories of conflict between the individual and rigid authority, which made for perfect theatrical drama. "Rigoletto" was based on a Victor Hugo play about a complex, philandering ruler that was banned in Paris after its first performance. Verdi saw more dramatic potential in the character of the hunchback jester, a mocking, capricious spirit whose only redeeming feature is his love for his daughter, Gilda.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 30, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Artistic crossroads are rarely serene periods in the lives of opera singers. Though new repertoire decisions can yield better careers, every James Morris (whose profile burgeoned when he took on Wagner) is vastly outnumbered by those who made bad decisions and ruined their voices. So when tenor Matthew Polenzani, 39, seems to be slipping effortlessly from Mozart to Verdi in his first staged Rigoletto, opening Friday with Opera Company of Philadelphia, seasoned operagoers can be forgiven for their incredulity when he says, "It's not a transition at all. " You can almost believe that, watching him stroll casually into rehearsal with Crosby, Stills and Nash on his iPod, chatting playfully on his cell phone with his wife at their home in Pelham, N.Y. When he sings, it's as light and lyrical as Verdi is ever likely to be. This is a voice that's also at home in the miniaturist world of Schubert art songs, which he'll sing in a recital Nov. 29 presented by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
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