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Verdi opera gets modern twist

Feb 10, 2013 - From staff reports

The Lander Met Opera will bring a new HDTV production of Verdi's "Rigoletto" to the Fremont County Library, 220 Amoretti St., at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16.

The opera recounts a tale of licentious behavior at the Court of Mantua in 16th century Italy by the duke, his court jester, Rigoletto, and the Duke's courtiers ending in the rape and then the murder of Rigoletto's daughter, Gilda. The Austrian censors so opposed the way the nobility and the court were represented that Verdi had great difficulty managing the performance at Venice's Teatro La Fenice in 1851.

In the end, Verdi's artistic conception prevailed and "Rigoletto" was received from the first performance with universal acclaim and has remained a favorite in the repertoire of opera companies throughout the world in the subsequent 150 years.

In Michael Mayer's new production, which premiered last month at the Metropolitan Opera, the setting has been moved to Las Vegas and the Duke, his jester and his courtiers transformed to Frank Sinatra like characters and the Sinatra "Rat Pack."

Diana Damrau as Gilda Rigoletto's daughter is superb, and the Duke's final "La Donna e Mobile" is a show stopper as it was in Venice more than a century before.

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