James Macdonald’s direction of Rigoletto, revived by the Welsh National Opera, was to say the least- odd. Macdonald’s attempt at modernising Verdi’s Rigoletto with Americanisation, reminiscent of the 1980s, seemed inappropriate and confusing rather than a tasteful adaptation. One particularly misplaced scene was in Act Three of the opera, in which central characters Rigoletto, Gilda and the Duke all pour out their emotions regarding their personal sufferings. In terms of plot and sound, this should have been an incredibly heart-felt Act, yet Macdonald’s setting in the white house lacked sensitivity so much so that it was almost comedic.
Despite the stage adaptation reeking of disservice to Verdi’s opera, the technical aspects must be applauded. Alexander Joel’s orchestra executed the score perfectly, the instruments upholding the tremendous vocals and gliding alongside the action on stage. The actors must also be mentioned, each one bringing their individual character alive, particularly Mark S Doss as Rigoletto and Haegee Lee as Gilda, with their memorable stage presence and harmonious voices.