[My review of the production is available here on LDN.CARD]
Last night at the Vienna State Opera House a weary Simon Keenlyside took to the stage to sing the lead role of Rigoletto. Unaffected by his appearance audiences were thrilled as his stage performance seemed to be going well. The opera started off strong: a sturdy Wiener Staatsoper Orchestra was led by seasoned conductor Myung-Whun Chung and there were some superb singing from its cast, which appeared to guarantee a night of success for Verdi. But in Act II, as Keenlyside sang “Cortigiani” in a scene with Gilda (Erin Morley), audiences across the globe (in the Vienna State Opera House, listening via radio, and watching the live stream) were shocked to hear that chunks of words were not being sung. Awkwardness swept the stage.
Nervous Morley glared over at Keenlyside to await her cue and the Wiener Staatsoper orchestra continued to soldier on to the bitter end where audience folk felt compelled to boo at the stage. Act III was salvaged however by last minute cover singer Paulo Rumetz.