The name Rigoletto is borrowed from a parody of Victor Hugo’s play, while the opera is based on an original prose piece (for a change) penned by the author of Les Misérables. The road to operatic stages was long and bumpy: it began in 1844, it ended seven years later. Censorship kept intently weeding out the ‘indecency and vulgarity’ of the libretto, disregarding the logical and dramatic consequences of these interventions. If we compare the starting point with the arrival point, it would turn out that there is barely anything left of the first version – even the names were changed in order to hide the association with Hugo, whom the authorities did not regard with kindness. It had certain, shall we say, rather unobvious results: the title character has no real aria to sing, the prima donna has but one, and the acts break off, say, spontaneously. Verdi’s genius, however, trumped the authorities in the end. The opera immediately won the hearts of the audiences – and nothing has changed since the world premiere in that regard. The Warsaw staging begins with a riot of colours, textures, shapes, flashes, gilding and jewels – I had the impression that I was seeing the tinted Orthodox churches of Kremlin of absolutely incomprehensible beauty and physics, suddenly descended in human form. Well it does not matter, what exactly descended, what matters is that the singing is done in Italian. And it shakes you.
Andriy Yurkevych Conductor
Gilberto Deflo Director
Ezio Frigerio Set Designer
Franca Squarciapino Costume Designer
Zofia Rudnicka Choreography
Stanisław Zięba Lighting Designer