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Your Reaction: What did you think of Verdi's Rigoletto 2017/18?

Audience responses and press reviews of The Royal Opera's performance of Verdi's potent tragedy.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

15 December 2017 at 11.01am | 32 Comments

Press reviews:
Express ★★★
Independent ★★★
Financial Times ★★★
The Stage ★★★
WhatsOnStage ★★★
Bachtrack ★★★
Times (£) ★★

What did you think of Rigoletto?

Rigoletto runs until 16 January 2018. Tickets are still available.

The opera will be relayed live to cinemas around the world on 16 January 2018. Find your nearest cinema and sign up to our mailing list.

The production is staged with generous philanthropic support from Professor Paul Cartledge and Judith Portrait OBE.

By Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media)

15 December 2017 at 11.01am

This article has been categorised Opera and tagged by David McVicar, Production, review, Rigoletto, your reaction

This article has 32 comments

  1. Catherine Prentice responded on 15 December 2017 at 9:56pm Reply

    Platanias was excellent and so was Fomina. Fabiani needs more charisma and pathos but all together a very satisfactory gripping performance.

  2. Catherine Moorehead responded on 16 December 2017 at 8:37am Reply

    Very much enjoyed the performance on Dec 14. Strong, rich, singing (bar the odd wobble) from all. Some wonderfully moving moments. The band very much up to its usual excellent standard. Costumes a pleasure: beautiful tones. A nicely nuanced lighting plot.
    The set is economical but more practical-descriptive than interpretative. (The off-vertical angles may suggest lack of moral uprightness, but that's hardly incisive.)

    Only irritation was my seat on the back row of the Orchestra Stalls: W18: it's impossible to sit straight in it (and I have short legs!). Really shouldn't be sold st the price asked.

  3. Charles K. responded on 16 December 2017 at 2:18pm Reply

    Bravi Dmitri Platanias and Sofia Fomina! Intelligent, beautiful and stylistically right singing.

  4. This was the fourth time I have seen this production directed by David McVicar.
    Michael Fabiano was great in the part of the Duke, Dimitri Platanias was made this part his own and his voice was as rich as ever. Sofia Formina was the best Gilda I have heard in this production. I think she really nailed the part. Her beautiful voice was very pure as well as strong,and her interpretation was perfect.
    I think some of the critics are just jealous of all the talent these singers have!

  5. If I could change anything, I think the chorus sex scenes are rather rediculous!

  6. .... that should be spelled ridiculous! Sorry about the “typo!”

  7. Please cast Nadia Krasteva again and in a bigger role. It's a waste to make her sing minor roles with that luscious dark voice.

  8. Joanna Cary responded on 19 December 2017 at 5:10pm Reply

    Ivan Magri was magnificent this afternoon. In all the many times I have seen Rigoletto, I have always had reservations about the Duke. This time, I was right there with Gilda and Magdalena - captivated. What a star! Shame he's not going to be in the filming cast

  9. Leona Romain responded on 19 December 2017 at 9:34pm Reply

    I went to see this afternoon's performance. One of my first Opera's that I've seen. I've got to say I wasn't dissapointed.... Bravo... I really loved it. Went straight home and booked La Traviata at the collesuem. The music moved me it was so lovely.....
    Well done to everyone... I love ROH as well. I can only really afford the 'cheap seats' in the slips but what a view for the affordable price. I have bad eyesight anyways so even though its a side view it's so much closer to the performance for me I think I get a better view. Will save for a better seat for La Boheme this summer though.

  10. Arvid Larsen responded on 21 December 2017 at 4:05pm Reply

    I saw Katie Mitchell’s ‘Lucia’ a couple of months ago and my faith in Opera was restored; dynamic, vibrant, important, truthful and excellently cast. Unfortunately the opposite was the case on Tuesday’s matinee of Rigoltto... it was back to stagnant staging, over acting (or no acting) and ‘provocative’ direction for no reason.. Ok, so maybe some of this is down to taste and just my opinion but the main part singing at least a quarter tone under on the final note of his main area is not... It was announced that Gilda was feeling under the weather and asked for our understanding, she got it, even if she sounded a bit brittle and too mature,she wasn’t the problem. I have sobbed my way through Rigoletto on many occasions in the past, this current rendition left me cold. In this day and age I think we can do better. The orchestra however sounded lush as always.

    • Dani responded on 22 December 2017 at 11:17pm

      Having seen Oropesa singing Lucia is like having climbed the Everest, cannot climb higher, for me the best opera and soprano, her fan forever after this (saw all the performances but one ) Try to keep that in mind so you can enjoy other stuff: )
      Rigoletto is a good one as well, Fabiano was really powerful, better than I expected.. so looking forward to going again in January.
      I think probably the sex showing goes too far for opera, anyway that's a way of telling the story.. better that than this "modern" operas with break dance on stage...
      I don't know what the last scene is missing compared with Lucia or La boheme... I think the interpretation at the end should be more dramatic maybe...felt cold as well

  11. Peter Druee responded on 22 December 2017 at 12:53pm Reply

    We got rushed out of the theatre at the end of rather a good performance on the 21st by a fire alarm.
    A slow exit down the stairs from the amphitheatre to see police cars and cordons outside. So no opportunity for applause. but we did at least get to the end of the opera.

    It would be good to know what happened and that no harm to the singers or anyone else in the building occurred and that no damage was done to the building.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 23 December 2017 at 8:19am

      Hi Peter,

      The auditorium was evacuated at the end of the performance due to a suspect package being found. Police then gave the all clear. We thank all audience members for the calm and orderly evacuation.

      Best wishes,


  12. John Yap responded on 22 December 2017 at 1:05pm Reply

    One of the most unsatisfactory and unmusical performances of RIGOLETTO that I have ever seen. And I have seen lots around the World. Michael Fabiano, who is normally quite good in other roles, was almost unlistenable last night. Sarah Crowe who can be excellent slurred her words and notes throughout, excepting for Caro Nome (which was beautifully sung). Even Dimitri Platanias, who previously was a great Rigoletto (the performance that I saw) over sang, verging on vulgarity. The false alarm over a suspected package (I was told) at the end was more dramatic and exciting.

  13. Saad Jadir responded on 22 December 2017 at 1:12pm Reply

    The performance of Rigoletto on the 21st December 2017 is the best I have ever seen. Dimitri Platanias is sublime, and I think the role is made for him.
    Few things I couldn't understand.
    Is the nudity essential for the production ?
    Why were the soldiers grovelling on the floor to the Count ?
    What was the little girl doing hiding under the stairs while the Count sings the loss of Gilda ? who is she ?

    The production was marred by the fire alarm going off, luckily it was at the very end of the opera. The stars missed what would have been a standing ovation.
    Saad Jadir

  14. Hugh Stacey responded on 23 December 2017 at 1:57pm Reply

    Saw Rigoletto on the night of the bomb alert , really enjoyed it but not the best thing i have ever seen at the Opera House. Platanias stood out for me and thought Fabiano did a passable Duke . Lucy Crowe the weakest on show and found her delivery a bit below par and a lot of the singing had poor diction and was hard to follow. Love the singing of Andrea Mastroni. I did not find the opening scenes gratuitous and thought they set the scene of life at the Duke court really well. The revolving set did look a bit cumbersome though and it seemed a lifetime to turn itself around. A good night at the opera but not a great one !

  15. Elena Bogusheva responded on 23 December 2017 at 9:50pm Reply

    I am very sorry for the missed opportunity to applause the brilliant performance on 21 st Dec 2017. Meanwhile I think the audience in general missed the opportunity to applause a lot of well sung pieces in the first act. Local tradition or supercriticism? Anyway, for me it was a performance to remember...

  16. Saad Jadir responded on 24 December 2017 at 8:19pm Reply

    Furthermore, where was Questa o Quella in the performance of the 21st December ?
    It wasn't sung !

  17. Kerri responded on 7 January 2018 at 9:53pm Reply

    What a shame - such wonderful music and clever staging to be let down by over the top orgy scenes and soldiers pretending to be dogs? Utterly confusing to ruin a such a powerful opera. The chorus should be there to complement not distract. Throughout, nothing balanced in this production. Just really sad.

  18. Richard Gompels responded on 7 January 2018 at 10:06pm Reply

    The single most disappointing and frustrating performance. As a regular ROH friend and Patron, this was a shocking performance mixing over-the-top sex, nudity and debauchery with mismatched and disappointing performances. Not to undersell the vocal skills of Gilda, nor the Duke, but the weakness of the overall cast was a first for me.

    The staging was modern - and tasteless; the atmosphere - cold, and without emotion or feeling. The orchestra is as talented as always- but often felt muted and muffled. At the start, we felt it was as if a recording was being played from behind the set.

    At the end, the cast was clearly too tired to attend the final curtain call, from all their acting as rabid dogs, or perhaps they felt awkward now that they had their clothes on. But either way, this lacklustre end to a deeply disappointing performance means that I would advise anyone to avoid this performance.

  19. Ann O’ Shaughnessy responded on 16 January 2018 at 11:32pm Reply

    I have just been to see this production tonight at Covent Garden. Beautiful singing from all, especially Lucy Crowe whose Gilda was wonderful. Shame about the ‘set’ and the bestial cavorting of the chorus.

  20. Violet Lucas responded on 16 January 2018 at 11:43pm Reply

    Thoroughly enjoyed the filmed performance on 16th January in Beverley. Only one comment-as Act 1 Scene 2 ended, we were given a too brief view of Gildas empty bed. Perhaps we were expected to guess what happened. My memory of previous revivals is that we saw her being physically grabbed from her bed. Comment-thanks for this opportunity!

  21. Eleanor Hulme responded on 17 January 2018 at 11:18am Reply

    Saw this at our local cinema - first 'major' opera for us. It was amazing - the main people were powerful and their singing was so beautiful. The story was clear and i liked the dark undertones that resonated with today's knowledge of the abuse of power by men in such positions. I must say however that the scenes of debauchery went too far - surely it could have been done with less vulgarity - the multiple rapes and nudity detracted form the experience and I sat in some trepidation that more was to come . i wold not want to see this production again.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 18 January 2018 at 5:35pm

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Please be assured that our live cinema relays are produced in accordance with BBFC guidelines and that we strove to highlight the inclusion of adult material in our pre-performance introduction. We are looking at how we can further message the inclusion of such content in our marketing material in future.

      I hope that this doesn't dissuade you from joining us for future live cinema relays from The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet.

      Best wishes,


  22. James Gill responded on 18 January 2018 at 6:49pm Reply

    I went on 13th January. Thought Duke very unmusical in voice for first half. Also strange disconnect between music and singers in first act.

  23. CArol Grower responded on 18 January 2018 at 11:58pm Reply

    We went on the night of 16 January.
    I do not feel that the production was over done. In fact, I think it perfectly fits the time, and the way life must have been in those days.
    However, the production just did not 'gel' for me.
    Platanias was excellent Rigoletto, but as the Duke cannot say the same for Fabbiano. His voice lacked depth, and somehow ruined the sound of the singing - it did not gel! Lucy Crowe has a lovely voice.
    The orchestra was as good as ever!
    All in all, not a wasted evening -
    but for the price could have been better.

  24. Alison Grace responded on 19 January 2018 at 2:08am Reply

    Yes, agree with most comments: excessive too noisy, enthusiastic naked 'orgy'ing-like sycophantic crawling/monkey/noisy/humans, distracting from the music, plot & vocals.
    Who is in charge of stage background? Bleakest palace I've ever seen!
    Singing wonderful, needs much more inspired stage settings.

  25. Jane Coles responded on 19 January 2018 at 9:59am Reply

    Took my family on 23 dec. Enjoyed it but a bit disappointed. Gilda was too mature in her performance. The character of Rigoletto didn't involve any of us. The duke was not sufficiently charismatic though he improved as the evening wore on.
    We all liked Sparafucile. The 2 kids(aged 22 and 14) summed it up as "idiot father, stupid daughter" .
    My husband and I saw an ROA production about 25 years ago and were deeply moved.
    This production didn't touch our emotions.

  26. Christoph Hollger responded on 20 January 2018 at 11:29am Reply

    I attended the performance on 11 January and I agree with most comments here. The setting and staging was borderline between annoying, depressing, and downright silly. I was, however, totally disappointed with the musical side of it, and for me the main reason why Verdi's wonderful opera did nothing for me on that night was David McVicar conducting. The whole first act felt as if there was a war going on between some of the singers (Fabiano), the conductor, the orchestra, and the choir. They never seemed to be quite together. Surly the opera was not under-rehearsed, so what was going on there? Tickets are too expensive for disappointments like this one.

  27. Paul Thompson responded on 23 January 2018 at 2:00pm Reply

    I saw the last performance of this Opera on the 16th January 2018. As a friend of the ROH I have seen a significant number of operas both in London and around the world and this was the most disappointing performance I have ever seen, I left totally disappointed. I am in no way a prude but the first scene was ridiculous and puerile and the whole performance was totally lacking in any emotion. An evening that costs £400 should really deliver more than this. I am seeing Tosca next week, I sincerely hope that it is better than this very poor effort.

  28. Joe Scanlan responded on 21 February 2018 at 8:25pm Reply

    Would have helped to have subtitles!

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 23 February 2018 at 2:15pm

      Hi Joe,

      Did you attend at the cinema? If so, there should have been subtitles. Which venue were you at?



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