Rigoletto “Framed” in Buenos Aires

ArgentinaArgentina  Verdi, Rigoletto: Buenos Aires Lírica. Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra of Buenos Aires Lírica, Conductor: Carlos Vieu. Teatro Avenida, Buenos Aires. 13.4.2012. (JSJ)

Director/sets: André Heller-Lopes
Costumes: Sofía Di Nunzio
Lighting: Alejandro Le Roux
Chorus: Juan Casasbellas

Duke of Mantua: Angelo Scardina
Rigoletto: Fabián Veloz
Gilda: Ivanna Speranza
Sparafucile: Walter Schwarz
Maddalena: Vanina Guilledo
Giovanna: Alicia Alduncín
Count Monterone: Ernesto Bauer
Marullo: Norberto Marcos
Borsa: Fermín Prieto
Count Ceprano: Claudio Rotella
Countess Ceprano: Gabriela Ceaglio
Usher: Sebastián Angulegui
Page: Laura Bjelis

Fabián Veloz (Rigoletto) and Ivanna Speranza (Gilda) in Rigoletto’s Act 2 as the courtiers look on. Photo: Liliana Morsia

After having closed its 2011 season with Macbeth, Buenos Aires Lírica also turned to Verdi to open its 2012 season, this time with Rigoletto.

This is a new production, bearing little resemblance to the company’s previous 2005 production, with the concept of the Brazilian producer André Heller-Lopes, with the assistance for the sets of Argentine Noelia González Svoboda, apparently to present the drama as if within a picture. A series of overlapping frames and background doors served as a common framework and within this the presentation was broadly classic, except for the curious closing scene in which Rigoletto clutches at the “body” of the dying Gilda while she stands behind him singing with the appearance of an apparition.

Musically Carlos Vieu brought his experience with the score to bear, with good dynamics and phrasing. Two of the main protagonists also impressed, with Fabián Veloz making for a believable Rigoletto and Ivanna Speranza a youthful Gilda. Veloz has a big presence and brought musicality and pathos to the role, while Speranza sung with beauty and good line. However, the Italian Angelo Scardina seemed not up the role of the Duke, either vocally or stylistically, although perhaps he was somewhat below par as he dropped out after Act 2 in the following production.

Of the other parts most were satisfactory, particularly Walter Schwarz (Sparafucile), Vanina Guilledo (Maddalena) and Norberto Marcos (Marullo), but while Ernesto Bauer was technically correct as Monterone, he lacked the “darkness” to strike home the fear of “la maledizione”.

A special mention too of the chorus and their assiduous director Juan Casabellas, which amply fulfilled its interventions.

Jonathan Spencer Jones