Political Rigoletto opens Rome opera

New staging with conductor Gatti and director Abbado

(ANSA) - Rome, November 27 - The Rome Opera is set to open its new season on December 2 at Teatro Costanzi with a politically toned staging of the Giuseppe Verdi classic Rigoletto, set in the WWII Mussolini-led German puppet Republic of Salò in northern Italy.
    The new staging, which runs through December 18, is the work of conductor Daniele Gatti and director Daniele Abbado, who together conceived an unexpected version, both from a musical as well as a dramatic perspective.
    The production focuses more on the psychology of the characters in order to bring out the twin aspects of tragedy and comedy inherent in Rigoletto.
    This is Gatti's third opening-season production at the Rome Opera House, after Wagner and Berlioz, and Abbado's first.
    The new staging represented a challenge for both of them, and was initially perplexing for Teatro dell'Opera Foundation superintendent Carlo Fuortes.
    "Innovating on a great opera is complicated, but I believed in it after I saw the great depth in this work," Fuortes said.
    "It will be an all-new Rigoletto, full of surprises," he said.
    He said he hopes this season will continue the upward trend of last season, which saw a 26% revenue increase, in order to "continue to innovate".
    Gatti said the new staging is an attempt to "stay faithful to Verdi's thought".
    He said the decision to set the opera in the 1943-45 Republic of Salò was made in order to bring back the "political aspect that faded over the years".
    Abbado said, however, that the new staging doesn't wade into historical reconstruction.
    "We're in the theatre, not in film or TV; the scenery will be modern but of an Elizabethan derivation," Abbado said.
    "Everything will be shown with great narrative simplicity," he said.
    The cast is made up of Ismael Jordi and Ivan Ayon Rivas as the Duke of Mantua, Roberto Frontali and Sebastian Cantana as Rigoletto, Lisette Oropesa and Claudia Pavone as Gilda, and Riccardo Zanellato as Sparafucile.
    Scenery and lighting is by Gianni Carluccio, costumes by Francesca Livia Sartori and Elisabetta Antico, choreography by Simona Bucci and choral direction by Roberto Gabbiani.