Compare and contrast Rigoletto in Mantua and Rigoletto at the Royal Opera House, London. David McVicar's production still packs a powerful punch. This Rigoletto is so wounded he's dehumanized, part beetle, part crab, the man within barricaded emotionally against the world with claws and pincers. I'll never forget Paolo Gavanelli creating the part in 2001. The big news in this current revival is Dmitri Hvorostovsky, who is very different from Gavanelli (who appears in the later performances in this run). Surprisingly, little comparative discussion apart from
Edward Seckerson (Independent) "Hvorostovsky quickly shows us much more of the pain that lurks beneath, though, and this wonderful singer – master of the long legato – unrecognisable physically but unmistakable vocally........when Rigoletto’s dark heart turns to vengeance his humanity deserts him. It is at these moments that Hvorostovsky pushes his lyric baritone to unsettling extremes, the terrible bitterness of his cry of “Joy” over the dead body be believes to be the Duke as painful as it is chilling "
Claire Seymour, (Opera Today) "Fearlessly physical, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, usually seen in rather more suave and sophisticated guises, emits a startling viciousness and ferocity, foreshadowing the inhumanity to which the eponymous jester’s desire for all-consuming vengeance will subsequently propel him. Boundless stamina combined with limitless variety — now sweetly tender when recalling his wife, then cruelly bitter as his obsessive rage engulfs him — characterise a remarkable performance. Hvorostovsky is not afraid to push his baritone to its rougher edges, while his ability to spin an endless lyrical line never ceases to amaze and thrill."