RIGOLETTO by Giuseppe Verdi, directed by Adrian Osmond, conducted by Julian Kovatchev, with Alan Opie, Laura Claycomb, Giuseppe Gipali, Ayk Martirossian and Buffy Baggott. Presented by the Canadian Opera Company at the Hummingbird Centre (1 Front East). April 16, 22 and 24 at 7:30 pm, April 18 at 2 pm. $40-$160, limited $20-$25 (ages 18-29). 416-872-2262. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Fathers and daughters figure prominently in Giuseppe Verdi 's operas, but never more so than in Rigoletto , the tale of a hunchback jester whose innocent daughter Gilda is seduced by his employer, the lecherous Duke of Mantua. The Canadian Opera Company 's production shines musically; conductor Julian Kovatchev gets real bite from the orchestra on some of Verdi's most familiar tunes. It also frequently shines dramatically. In Alan Opie , the company has a fine singing actor, the mocker turned into a tragic figure when he's sideswiped by a curse. Equally good is Laura Claycomb 's Gilda, whose aria Caro Nome, sung with floated, effortless high notes and the intensity of drunken young love, rightly gets the evening's biggest applause.
Giuseppe Gipali 's pleasure-loving Duke has a velvety, unforced voice, though he'd do better if he shaded it with a variety of tone and were less stolid onstage. I wish he hadn't grand-standed the high note at the end of the work's most famous aria, La Donna E Mobile, but the audience loved it.
Michael Yeargan 's sets, inspired by the foreshortened perspectives and dark, menacing arches of painter Giorgio De Chirico, give the piece a properly sinister, suffocating feel. But director Adrian Osmond puts little of his own touch on the show.