Belgrade National Theatre
Rigoletto has appeared at Belgrade’s National Theater many times. It premiered in 2001 with soloists from Teatro Alla Scala Milan. It’s my third performance at the National Theatre. As with other performances, it was sold out. I arrived 20 minutes early to an empty house. Five minutes before the performance began, the theater filled quickly.
Serbians are friendly, but you must make the first attempt to communicate. If someone approaches you, they’re taken aback if you don’t speak Serbian.
Opera, ballet, and classical music are popular in Belgrade. Drama is also in high demand, and there are many theaters – performances are usually in Serbian.
Rigoletto is sometimes described as an “exciting and gritty opera not for the faint-heated”… If you like drama, Rigoletto has few rivals – heart-wrenching tragedy and human emotions are well portrayed!
The programs and supertitles were in Serbian. I found limited information about the singers online. With a basic understanding of the plot, the incredible voices describe what’s going on during an opera.
The original title, La Maledizione (The Curse), refers to “a curse placed on the Duke of Mantua and Rigoletto (his hunchbacked court jester) by Count Monterone, whose daughter the Duke seduces with help from Rigoletto”. The curse materializes when Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, falls in love with the philandering Duke and sacrifices her life to save him from Sparafucile, the assassin hired by her father.
Popular Soprano Gabrijela Ubavic made a guest appearance as Gilda. She has an extraordinary voice! Her first “major international success” was in 2010 singing the role of Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night, in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Since then, she’s received considerable recognition and won many awards.
I found a list of the opera’s cast from earlier productions but not the names of singers during last night’s performance. At any rate, it was a rousing production, and an evening well spent!