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Rigoletto - Live Broadcast from the Taormina Festival at Grand Cinema Digiplex

Wednesday, 10 July 2013 , ora 9.21
In the series of great events celebrating the bicentenary of the genius Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi's birth (1813-1901) we find Rigoletto, the latest performance at the Opera Festival in Taormina/Sicily. We had the opportunity to watch a live broadcast in one of the Grand Cinema Digiplex halls in Băneasa Shopping City on Tuesday, 9th July, 2013.

The Taormina Festival brings music lovers to a wonderful ancient theatre built in the 7th century, which offers unique vistas over the Ionic Sea and over Mount Etna. Lovers of the lyrical genre already know that any performance on an open-air stage requires understanding and compromise from the audience. Because of atmospheric conditions that are not too kind with sensitive voices - too cold, too humid, too hot, as was the case of Taormina - singers rarely accept such contracts. Consequently, one does not go to an open-air performance - and I am also thinking of Bregenz and Verona - to enjoy an above-average artistic success, but rather… to experience a display of musical theatre in unique conditions, given by the fabulous setting, as well, where vestiges of the past are included, as much as possible, in the present. Such is the case of this Rigoletto by Verdi that we are reviewing.

The ancient theatre's stage is not too generous, in fact, it is wide and narrow. The available space was covered by Sonnia Cammarata with a sort of labyrinth-garden that would allow a certain freedom in moving to the numerous artists required by great ensemble scenes. The setting is minimal - there was not room for much more, aside the theatre's vestiges and the splendid lighting given by flames and candles. The drawbacks of such a concept are a lot of useless moving and funny solutions - so as not to be seen, the Duke simply hides under a little bench in Rigoletto's garden, rather exposed, of course, where he springs from childishly and where he is discovered by Gilda… In such conditions we cannot say too much about Enrico Castiglione's direction. We only ask ourselves whether minimal, apathetic acting, without relations between the characters, as well as the meaningless kerfuffle of the choir in the ensemble scenes belong to the director or… they were imposed by the uninspired and even timorous artists. Everyone's eyes stayed glued to conductor Gianluca Martinenghi's baton, as he confidently led the Bellini symphonic orchestra in Palermo. But… No character communicates with their partner in any way but minimally suggested. Everyone is busy with their parts, which were visibly difficult for the singers obsessed with one thing, I suppose - singing out loud. In the title role, Carlos Almaguer impresses during the first minutes with a surprisingly strong voice, which we soon find out to be rather unpolished. Avoiding acute notes displeases the competent listener. Soprano Rocio Ignatio's intonation is not always correct or clear, her voice has a curly vibrato, and the singer's attention is constantly focused on technique instead of on the expressivity of her performance. Tenor Gianluca Terranova is definitely the first among our musical preferences. A handsome physique, casual stage presence, a well-trained voice with varied expressive tones but, unfortunately, all these qualities have yet to be… polished.

The performance in Taormina was broadcast live in over 700 cinemas in Italy (through Microcinema), the rest of Europe and the United States of America (through Rising Alternative). For the Romanian musical life, the event was highly important - it was an opportunity for this year's edition of 'George Enescu' Festival to officially announce its first-time partnership with Grand Cinema Digiplex in Băneasa Shopping City. Many of the extraordinary concerts that will take place in the Palace Hall in Bucharest will be broadcast live in cinema halls. This is a great chance for the very many people who have not been able to find tickets for the concerts they wanted and expected. It is an initiative that deserves to be received with gratitude and applause. You can find more details on www.festivalenescu.ro and www.GrandCinemaDigiplex.ro

Cristina Sârbu
Translated by Irina Borțoi and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, The University of Bucharest