340 N. Escondido Boulevard, Escondido
Pacific Lyric Association Opera’s performance of Rigoletto on Saturday night was well worth seeing.
Why? For one thing, this is an excellent example of how good opera can be when it is scaled down and performed in a smaller space than we might be used to. This production is being presented at a small fraction of the price San Diego Opera would have paid to put Rigoletto on.
However, it’s still Rigoletto. It’s still great music. It’s still a moving story. It’s still Verdi. The difference in scale and expense is cavernous but the difference in the music, singing, and story is nominal.
Yes, the voices at Pacific Lyric aren’t big enough to fill the Civic Theater, but they’re not in the Civic Theater. The voices are more than enough for the space they are in. There is some absolutely beautiful singing in this Rigoletto.
Lest we forget, the last time SDO did Rigoletto, the Duke of Mantua — the lead tenor — was serviceable at best. He had no swag, the set seemed to swallow him whole and the voice wasn’t exciting or particularly beautiful.
Pacific Lyric’s Duke, Xavier Prado-Caceres, sings his role beautifully. His voice is consistent and sounds like itself. What I mean by that is that Caceres doesn’t sound like a tenor, he sounds like himself. We hear his voice singing the pitches and his voice happens to be a tenor.
Opera is about singing and telling a story as truthfully as possible.
Pacific Lyric has some great singers and some truthful singers.
The sets and costumes are effective and help the singers portray their characters.
The orchestra plays well most of the time. Some of the time they play OK, and some of the time they play great.
There are two performances remaining at the smaller theater at California Center for the Performing Arts, Escondido, on Friday the 26th at 7 pm and Sunday the 28th at 3 pm.
If you have any interest in opera and you’re free, you should go.