Paolo Gavanelli has created Rigoletto well over 200 times in many different productions including the very dark 2001 version at the Royal Opera House where he was dressed in black leather, scuttling across the stage on sticks, like a sinister black spider. This is what he told me about the tessitura:
“If you think about what Rigoletto did, he is like a monster for keeping his daughter hidden like a prisoner, but if you look at the tessitura in the first act it’s very, very high for a baritone. When a baritone sings that high, it’s disturbing, like having a stick in your body, something’s not right. Then in the second act, the tone is real baritone, in the middle register. That’s when you discover the real nature of Rigoletto. Then, at the end, the fermata are very low, for he is coming close to finding out his daughter is dead.. It’s cupo, very dark. It’s perfect. Verdi has designed the character”.
Gavanelli sings Rigoletto again at the Royal Opera House, soon. PLease see my post on Rigoletto live Mantua Domingo
photo credit : IMG Artists