September 11, 2001
Last Friday we went to the opening night of the San Francisco Opera. They played Verdi's Rigoletto. The soprano Désirée Rancatore was very good, her voice is sweet and light. Maybe just slightly cold, slightly frail. The tenor Frank Lopardo was acceptable, a bit inconsistent. His voice was not as strong as the title baritone Stephan Pyatnychko, who was amazing. Pyatnychko's voice was rich and warm, and just beautiful.
The set was clever, but certain details made it odd. They did a good job with the river scene, and the way they moved the set around was done well. However, the stripped down nature of much of the set was not aesthetically appropriate, the arches without any ornamentation looked like concrete and the stairs used in an interior space was made hideous with a metal railing at the top which looked like one you would find in a modern office building. The lighting was also strange. One of the interior areas was always lit red, and the adjacent outdoor area was lit yellow.