Prior to the opening night of Rigoletto, conductor Maestro Kamal Khan assured the audience that they could anticipate a prime example of South Africa’s unique, electrifying and exciting music-making.
Indeed, the sustained standing ovation on opening night confirmed the accuracy of this promise.
As Keith Bain of Khuluma wrote: “Rigoletto achieves a new high for CTO… It’s a scintillating show. I wish everyone in the country could see it to know what greatness we’re capable of.”
Fikile Mvinjelwa gave a heart-rending performance as Rigoletto. Local opera fans greatly appreciated his guest appearance on his local stage as Mvinjelwa has been working at the Met in New York City for the past eight years.
Noluvuyiso Mpofu, who is poised on the brink of what promises to be a successful international career, gave an outstanding and electrifying performance as Gilda.
Lukhanyo Moyake played the frivolous, licentious Duke of Mantua with panache, and Nonhlanhla Yende shone as the sultry Maddalena.
The audience was appreciative of the two new members of the Cape Town Opera Studio: Thomas Mohlamme (Sparafucile) and Danielle Speckman (Giovanna).
Director Marthinus Basson’s minimalist staging brought the singing to the forefront and his use of technology served to clarify the story and make the issues of abuse starkly relevant for our times.
Music critic Rudolph Maré aptly described Rigoletto as “dark, riveting and thought-provoking… a multi-layered commentary on the sleazy underbelly of our narcissistic society”.
If you haven’t yet booked to see Rigoletto, we urge you to do so. This is truly world-class opera at its most exciting.
“There aren’t many places in the world where you can hear this kind of passionate music-making,” Maestro Khan said. “The audience is hit by a barrage of emotional sound. Whereas in many parts of the world opera has become a business, in South Africa the focus still remains on creating a musical masterpiece.”