REVIEW: Rigoletto @ The Opera House, Manchester

I have to confess I’m not the sort of bloke who does a lot of opera. What I know about it I can fit on the back of a stamp.

In fact, until last night I thought Rigoletto was probably a mid-field dynamo Manuel Pelligrini had his eye on in the January transfer window.

And my wife thought it was a posh pasta dish on the new Pizza Express menu.

But last night’s lavish production of the the Verdi masterpiece based on the Victor Hugo play of love, betrayal and revenge blew us both away and put paid to the myth that opera is not us mere mortals.

It had everything – a timeless score, conducted to much applause by Nicolae Dohartaru, a live golden eagle, greyhounds and nudity – bringing to life the opulence and decadence of Renaissance Italy.

And there were some stunning performances – particularly, Maria Tonina as the tragic Gilda.

As this strong cast took their much deserved plaudits from an appreciative audience, I thought “Yes, I could this again.” In fact I am. I’m of to Madama Butterfly tonight.

You should too. You might think all that culture is bound to be expensive. But it costs about the same as watching Manchester City at Eastlands or United at Old Trafford and unlike watching football, you are guaranteed to be entertained.

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