Anthony Michaels-Moore has returned to the ENO after too long an absence, and this is one of the best roles I have seen him perform. It's true that he doesn't look particularly 'deformed', or disabled, he just limps a bit and perhaps one shoulder is higher than the other, but I found this sufficiently dramatically convincing. Do you need to be a hunchback when you can sing and act with such passion? This is the scene in which he mocks Monterone,(a small role, but pivotal to the plot, competenly sung by Freddie Tong) little dreaming that his mocking will back-fire on him.
He looks threatening enough in this scene with the henchmen, demanding that Gilda be returned to him. "Cortigiano, vil razza dannata....." Excellently and convincingly translated as "Filthy bastards, you liars, you rabble...."
During this aria, of course, Rigoletto runs the gamut of emotions from anger to despair, by the end he is no longer threatening but pleading.....and Anthony Michaels-Moore really got under the skin of the part, desperately begging for them to just give him back his daughter, please. The Mafia henchmen, of course, show no sympathy.
Gilda was sung by Katherine Whyte - also making her ENO debut. Her voice is sharp and bright, perhaps a little hint of shrillness at the end of "Caro nome", but it didn't really matter....she did convincingly convey the character of an innocent young girl, so sheltered that she is bound to fall in love with the first handsome young man who crosses her path - this is the problem, of course, Rigoletto wants to protect her from the corrupt world of which he is a part, but he protects her too much......