Updated: Jul 29, 2020
Michael Mayer's 2013 production of Verdi's Rigoletto recently returned to the Metropolitan Opera with a cast including tenor Vittorio Grigolo and soprano Nadine Sierra.
This production is considered by many to be very weird. One can't deny that 1960s Las Vegas doesn't quite fit with Verdi; however, this production continues to be performed at the Met. Why is that? Despite its many flaws, this production does have its good parts. Curiously, the unique scenery that is so often criticized, in some ways adds to the drama of the story. Arguably, the real-life aspect makes it even more credible than a classic production. Additionally, an interview with Tony Award winning set designer Christine Jones, who worked on the sets for this production, revealed information that supported this claim. Apparently, the lavish Vegas production helped to "solve numerous problems! One of the toughest puzzles to solve involved the kidnapping of Gilda. Rigoletto is present during this kidnapping but is wearing a mask, which for some reason also prevents him from being able to hear what is going on. Credibility is stretched. By using the elevator towers in [the] set, we were able to make more logical sense of how Rigoletto could be involved in the kidnapping of his own daughter and not realize it sooner."
We will have to wait to see a new production of Rigoletto, so we can compare and contrast the two, but considering the success of the current one, it will be years until we will have that opportunity.
Rigoletto is on at the Met until March 1 with Sierra, Grigolo, Frontali, and Kocan, with further performances including Demuro, Polenzani, Costello, Feola, Gagnidze, and Ivashchenko. Nicola Luisotti conducts the entire run.