On 15 September baritone Dimitri Platanias will be performing in the opening concert of the London Symphony Orchestra’s new season when he takes on the role of Verdi’s tragic court jester, Rigoletto. We spoke to him about the challenges of the role.
Rigoletto tells the story of a court jester and his daughter Gilda, who catches the eye of the Duke, with tragic consequences. What are the challenges of playing the role?
Actually the challenges of the role are not so different from other Verdi baritone challenges, but it’s a role in which you need to use many colours for the different aspects of his character. There are a couple of points, where it’s very very challenging vocally – you have to be as soft as possible but sing very high.
Do you have a favourite scene in the opera?
For me it is the Second Act aria ‘Cortigiani, vil razza dannata’ – not that the other scenes are not enjoyable, but for me, this aria is the most challenging, the most beautiful. Over three or four pages you have to show the whole range of the voice and the character.
What do you enjoy about singing Verdi’s music, more generally?
I love the drama, I love the way the music is written and I think it suits my voice – I can do these phrases with big breaths. But in general I think Verdi wrote the best music for vocalists – especially for baritones.
Which other singers have inspired you in the role?
I love most of the contemporary Rigolettos but I was particularly inspired by Tito Gobbi and Leonard Warren. These are baritones that I have listened to to absorb new aspects of the role.
Dimitri Platanias sings the title role of ‘Rigoletto’ in a concert performance conducted by Gianandrea Noseda with the London Symphony Orchestra on 15 September. For more information, visit the LSO’s website.
Dimitri Platanias talks about the role of Rigoletto in the new issue of BBC Music Magazine, a celebration of the life and work of Giuseppe Verdi.
Photo: Dimitri Platanias as Rigoletto. Credit: Johan Persson