Rigoletto (film)

Guiseppe Verdi/Francesco Maria Piave

The summer of 2003 saw the premiere of the opera film Rigoletto.

The audience was seated on a covered grandstand at the scene of the crime, the very spot where Rigoletto's daughter dies. The projection screen was located at the edge of a lake, in the middle of the wetlands. The audience was captivated by the surround sound of the screen.

The story in a nutshell: Rigoletto wants to protect his daughter. Daddy's girl is too pure for this sordid world, she is a permanent resident of the realm of virgins. Gilda, however, who interacts with her hormones for a brief but intense moment, refuses to be reined in by anyone.

In September, 2004, Rigoletto was nominated for a "Golden Statue" in the category Art and Culture.

Rigoletto was broadcast on Netherlands, Omrop Fryslan, Canadian TV and in England.

The DVD went on sale in the Netherlands, England and Italy.



Rigoletto Peter Michailov
Gilda Jasmin Besig, voice: Karen Wierzba
Duca Charles Alves da Cruz
Maddalena Klara Uleman
Sparafucile Mourad Amirkhanian
Borsa Wil van der Meer, Jan van Maanen
Graaf Ceprano David Levi
Gravin Ceprano Charlotte Besijn
Marulo Brian Green
Monterrone Egidius Pluymen
Governess Mieke Doeschoot
Page Ivette van Laar
Doctor Wivineke van Groningen
musical director David Levi
music producer Attie Bauw
tutor Caterina Galiotto
scenario and director Corina van Eijk
assistant to the director Maaike Verdonk
art direction Jolanda Lanslots
costume design Pieter van Rooij
make-up artist Saskia Ellemeet
d.o.p. Tinus Holthuis
editor Larissa Lokenberg
producer Saskia van Roekel, Corina van Eijk
business advisor Bert Schreurs
financial advisor Alieke Bonte
executive producer Yvonne C. Belonje


´Perhaps it goes too far to proclaim that Pasolini has returned, but Corina van Eijk mercilessly sweeps away four hundred years of opera cliches and delivers one of the most imaginative opera films that I have ever seen. (...)

What makes the film so good is the attention to the details: every gesture, every laugh, every detail is convincingly set down before the footlights. (...) With the wrong directing this kitsch festival could have become the greatest opera disaster in history, but in this sublimated form, admirably sung and fantastically acted, it immediately became my favorite opera film of all time.´

Luister, October 2003

´Zapping from Sport Studio (ice hockey) to Netherlands 3, I thought that I had stumbled upon a sex film (on Sunday afternoon!)After consulting the TV Guide I discovered that it seemed to be a modern version of the opera Rigoletto. That was the last I saw of ice hockey.´

Vara Gids, from a viewer's letter

´The result is terrific, because in her film van Eijk has presented the human and timeless aspects of the story so well that the viewer who is not a regular opera-goer can also enjoy it. (...) In van Eijk's film, clever, strong and comprehensible symbols go hand in hand with sarcasm, humor and tragedy. (...) Karen Wierzba as Gilda is tremendous. Her role is excellently acted by colleague soprano Jasmin Besig. (Wierzba became pregnant after the sound recordings and could no longer play the part.) Charles Alvares da Cruz as the Duca is absolutely fabulous and Peter Michailov as Rigoletto grandiose.It is remarkable how well the singers act and lip-sync their roles in an incredibly natural manner. David Levi's orchestra sounds very driven, nuanced and warm.´

Algemeen Dagblad, August 2003

´Only the open-minded and uninhibited singing circle of friends which Corina van Eijk has gathered around her in the course of years enables the making of such a special film. This interpretation is more convincing than many "regular" Rigolettos.´

NRC Handelsblad, August 2003

´Van Eijk stages famous operas against the grain, brashly and with complete disregard for any tradition whatsoever. Some find this heavenly, others regard it as a violation of the scores.´

´Is this Rigoletto innovative? In a certain sense it is. It is beautifully made with attractive art direction and inventive jokes in image and sound. But just as in so many of her earlier works, van Eijk misses a compelling vision of the opera and simply strings together mere images and little ideas. She misses the subtlety with which Verdi drew the characters in the music. She has every right to do this, of course, and many are crazy about it, but it vulgarizes Verdi's masterpiece.´

Trouw, August 2003

< Opera Spanga chronology