Friday, 15 July 2016


by Giuseppe Verdi as interpreted by Les Grooms

As far as I remember, Rigoletto was the first opera I’ve ever seen. Was it in Bolshoi, or somewhere else in Moscow, I can’t tell you. I liked the music but had no faintest clue what it is all about, although I recall that it did not end well. Now, consulting the Wikipedia, I am not sure at all that the theatrical programme back then explained the (fairly complicated, I say) plot in sufficient, or any, detail.

Fortysomething years later, enter Les Grooms with their strange and irreverent version of Verdi’s classic. A far cry from dead serious Soviet-era production. Come to think of it, maybe not that strange. Maybe that’s how the opera should be, free for all, performed on the street — well, tonight it was on the square, bang in the heart of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. On this occasion, the French theatrical brass band was joined by 25 Canarian singers. The best bit, at least for me, was after the end of the show: an encore and then some music that has nothing to do with great Verdi, with what remained of the audience dancing, forming a circle, making a conga line... it could have been a scene from a Fellini film.

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