|Photo: Johan Persson|
The opera began, and we quickly realised that there were no subtitles showing. I believe this was a problem in only some cinemas (the transmission was broadcast to 700 plus cinemas around the world). Not knowing Rigoletto at all well, my initial thoughts were that this would be a real problem. However, I actually found that it didn't get in the way of following the action at all - a testament to the acting performances, perhaps. I am sure that some of the subtleties of the libretto were lost on me, and it would definitely have been a different experience with the subtitles. But the removal of any distraction from the visual and aural experience actually made for greater immediacy and immersion in the emotions of the story. I am sure that there were some that were disappointed or unhappy about the lack of subtitles, but I have to say it certainly didn't spoil my enjoyment.
Now to the performance. The atmosphere from curtain up was dark, decadent and sumptuous - the deep reds and browns are straight out of a Caravaggio painting. The chorus delight in the debauchery, and we are treated to some full-fronted nudity - male and female - well this is a David McVicar production! The darkness is carried right through the opera - the central set is consistently dark grey and brown, and virtually the only colour is deep red, perhaps prefiguring the bloody final scenes.
|Photo: Alastair Muir|
The Arts Desk