Exuberant and minimalistic – a thrilling “Rigoletto” with tenor Benjamin Bernheim

Verdi’s vibrant masterpiece Rigoletto is currently being staged at the Liceu in Barcelona. Musica caught up with French tenor Benjamin Bernheim.

Exuberant and minimalistic, Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto is a dark drama full of famous melodies like La Donna è Mobile. In this latest incarnation of the Italian composer’s tour de force, French tenor Benjamin Bernheim is debuting at the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

“It’s a masterpiece. And amongst all the operas of Verdi that I know, I really feel that this is the most complete but also untouchable, because everything makes sense. Everything has an importance, every note, every bar,” Bernheim explains.

He adds: “We have three, may be not particular colours, but palettes of different colours…how warm it is for Rigoletto, how elegant and arrogant it is for the duke and the sweet and beautiful like a blooming flower Gilda.”

“a psychological thriller…about death, love and self-sacrifice”

Rigoletto centres on a powerful duke, a court jester and his beloved and overprotected daughter. When Gilda falls in love with the Duca di Mantua, tragedy takes its course.

“Rigoletto is really a psychological thriller that will always remain relevant, because it is about death, about love and self-sacrifice and about the thirst for power,” Russian Soprano Olga Peretyatko says.

Magic moments with a powerful cast

Bernheim loves his arias, but the role of Rigoletto is a complex one: a notorious womaniser who falls in love and suffers deeply when his object of desire is kidnapped.

“There is something very sweet in this guy who actually is a liar, a manipulator. There is something that is not in his control. Something was taken from him and he’s really afraid, and not only for him, he’s afraid for her,” says Bernheim.

Summing up, Peretyatko tells us about the camaraderie among the cast: “We’re such a strong team, [we’re] people who don’t want to attract all the attention, as if we were alone and the others were just followers, but we are one team and this is great.”


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