Adrian Osmond | RIGOLETTO
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ABOUT

Rigoletto, court jester to the philandering Duke of Mantua, is cursed by the father of one of the Duke’s victims.  When Rigoletto’s daughter becomes the Duke’s next conquest, the jester vows revenge.  But the curse is taking effect…

CREATIVE TEAM

Director

Conductor

Set Designer

Costume Designer 

Lighting Designer 

Chorus Master

Stage Manager 

ASM 

ASM 

Assistant Director

General Director 

Duke of Mantua 

Borsa

Countess Ceprano 

Rigoletto 

Marullo

Count Ceprano 

Count Monterone 

Sparafucile

Gilda

Giovanna

Page 

Court Usher 

Maddalena 

Adrian Osmond

Julian Kovatchev

Michael Yeargen

Constance Hoffman

Renée Brode

Sandra Horst

Stepahnie Marrs

Tiffany Fraser

Dora Tomassi

Brent Krysa

Richard Bradshaw

 Giuseppe Gipali

Luc Robert

Colleen Skull

Alan Opie

Peter Barrett

Cornelis Opthof

Robert Pomakov

Ayk Martirossian

Laura Claycomb

Sonya Gosse

Andrea Ludwig

Peter McGillivray

Buffy Baggott

DIRECTOR’S NOTES

Verdi intended Rigoletto to be a sequence of duets, so it is unsurprising that many of the characters can be paired.  Within the opera’s tight structure, each relationship and encounter contrasts with another.

Forces are twinned in conflict, too.  At the heart of Rigoletto there is a battle between beauty and deformity.  This manifests itself most clearly in the physical distinction between the hunchbacked jester and the lusty Duke.  There may be similarities between servant and master – Monterone curses them both, and neither can control their impulses – yet there are deep, human contradictions between their inner and outer forms, and between appearance and action.  As a result, the audience’s allegiance is never clear-cut.  Verdi himself remarked, “That is what seemed so wonderful to me:  to portray this ridiculous, terribly deformed creature, who is inwardly filled with passion and love.”

This love proves to be as devastating a power as the Duke’s charisma.  Rigoletto adores his daughter, yet is unable to tell her about his profession or her family.  His love inspires guilt; no wonder Gilda turns to the tactile Duke in disguise.

In the tempestuous final act, the boundaries between good and evil, between right and wrong, are irrevocably blurred.  Rigoletto may claim the Duke is Crime and he is Punishment, but the Duke escapes unscathed.  He even remains blissfully ignorant of the sacrifice Gilda made.

What can this outcome mean?  What lesson is this father being forced to learn?  Is Rigoletto condemned for overreaching?  For taking on the mantle of justice?  In the opera’s closing moments, while Gilda begs forgiveness for herself and the Duke, Rigoletto still blames the curse for his misfortune.  Why does he refuse to recognise his flaws, or take responsibility for his actions? 

This story shocks because its conclusion cannot be dismissed easily or resolved.  Perhaps we need to return to Rigoletto to question our own nature, and discover where a more merciful path may lie.

Even when I am directing on a large scale, I try to provide performers with detailed suggestions for their characterisation.  For me, it is essential to provide both grand visual gestures, and also something far more intimate and personal that can draw the audience forward in their seats.

In this production, Monterone seizes Rigoletto by the hand as he curses him.  For the rest of the opera, Rigoletto feels that the curse is embodied within his hand.  So he never touches his daughter, fearing that he might pass the curse on to her; and this increases the tension between them, that lack of ease with each other’s company.  Only at the end, as Gilda is dying, does her father wrap his arms around her in a tight embrace.