As Rigoletto:

“Rigoletto really belongs to the baritone– in this case, Mark Rucker, who sang heroically. Rucker moved fluidly from broad mockery of the Duke’s courtiers though the dark recitative “Pari siamo!” into the tender father-daughter duet.” - Opera News

“Mark Rucker portrayed Rigoletto, the power and beauty of his voice retaining luster no matter what the dynamics. As an actor, the baritone welled with emotion without becoming maudlin or pathetic.” - Opera News

“Mr. Rucker's attractive baritone has the power and projection that makes his voice seem the right weight for Rigoletto. He also brings to the role the coloristic skills needed to give form to Rigoletto's impotent fury, and he is not averse to an occasional sob.” - The New York Times

“The production had unmistakable musical strengths on Saturday. Chief among them was Rucker's resonant portrayal of Rigoletto. He revealed the rage behind the laughter, the vulnerability beneath the vengeance.” - San Diego Union-Tribune

“Baritone Mark Rucker must be one of the finest singing actors the New Orleans Opera Association has welcomed to its stage. And in the most distinctly unsubtle title role of "Rigoletto." It is Rucker's subtle, nuanced choices that give Verdi's twisted and malevolent jester his emothional depth. There is courage in the pained grimace, with a determined will to stand firm in the face of the tormenting courtiers. There is deep paternal love in the gently protective stroking of his daugther Gilda's hair. And there is a sadistic glee in the wide and crooked grin that accompanies his most evil plotting. Vocally, it's clear why Rucker is considered among the finest Verdi baritones of his generation. His voice is commanding. Its tone doesn't merely have weight, it has genuine grandeur. In his solilquy, "Pari siamo," the intensity of his rage and fear builds. He maintains the tension just below the surface, even in his tender duets with Gilda, building to the inevitable release of pure regret and pain in his scream upon discovering he has caused his daugther's death. The moment is chilling.” - Times-Picayune

“Mark Rucker hurls himself into the part (of Rigoletto) body and soul. One of the best Verdi interpreters around today, he has the style down pat...” - San Diego Magazine

“Special credit should go to baritone Mark Rucker in the title role. Rucker was dramatically and vocally quite commanding. When his firm, powerful instrument was unleashed, it was as if nothing could stand in the way of this force of nature.” - Opera Canada

“It’s chief magnet is Mark Rucker as the hunchback jester. He’s a Rigoletto of powerful conviction with a hefty baritone to match. He puts tears into his duets with Gilda and deeply stirs the courtiers who abduct his daughter with his plea Cortigiani, developing it into a subtle mixture of irony and grief.” - The Miami Herald

“The evening’s one consistent strength was Mark Rucker, who has the innate dramatic flair to make Rigoletto a sympathetic, affecting character, and a voice with enough weight and nuance to do the score justice. From his posturing and bravado in the first scene to his final, desperate cry-complete with an extra high note that few baritones risk-Rucker commanded the stage. His sensitivity to words and appreciation for the eloquent arch of Verdi’s vocal lines offered abundant compensation.”- The Sun-Sentinel (Miami)

“Mark Rucker in the title role is absolutely magnificent. Huge voiced and intensely passionate, he literally breathes this music, as Lipton does, (Maestro Daniel Lipton) as if it is the natural element giving them life.” - The Spectator - Hamilton

“When the performance came to dramatic life it was usually with Mark Rucker on stage. The American baritone is a real singing actor, whose railing against the courtiers for Rigoletto's daughter's abduction struck a decisive note of emotional conviction. The very intensity of Rucker's characterization highlighted the stilted look of those surrounding him.” - Toronto Star

“This listener was enthusiastic about the singers, particularly about baritone Mark Rucker as Rigoletto. This was a beautifully sung, intelligently acted and an insightful portrait of a character we initially perceived as a bitter monster and grow to sympathize with as a grieving father.” - The Baltimore Sun

“Mark Rucker's Rigoletto was an absolute triumph...A wonderful amalgam of acting and singing that made the character of the tortured jester come alive. He is one of the best Rigolettos we have seen in some time.” - WLG Radio Baltimore

“Mark Rucker has a masterful handle on the character. The Verdi baritone extraordinaire returned for his third “Rigoletto” with Opera Grand Rapids on Friday. DeVos Performance Hall loves his voice, and the audience gave the season-opening production a big standing ovation when Rucker emerged at the final bows. Rucker’s hefty baritone, menacing with the courtiers but gentle as a lamb with his daughter, Gilda, rattled the rafters and caressed the ear. His nuanced character swings were richly detailed, his soliloquies superbly timed. Though his fury raged against the courtiers with the dramatic aria, “Cortigiani, vil razza dannata,” he always had something in reserve until firing his final bolt of anguish at the end.” - The Grand Rapids Press

“This concert was very strongly cast - in the case of the title role, sensationally cast. There has been considerable buzz about Mark Rucker, particularly in this role. It's a pleasure to report that the buzz is right on the money. Rucker commands a big rich, colorful sound which he pours out with abandon - but also with striking intelligence. Every detail of this interpretation has been polished to a brilliant gloss. This baritone sings Rigoletto in the old-fashioned manner, replete with snarls and sobs, but the conviction and the vividness that he brings to the role sweep niggling questions about style right out of the picture. One simply cannot imagine Act III better sung, or Act IV better paced.” - The Newark Star-Ledger

“The weight of the show rests primarily on the shoulders of the title character. Rucker created a complex but deeply sympathetic Rigoletto. It's a bear of a role, with almost nonstop singing from beginning to end. But not only did Rucker not tire, as the fate-decreed misery of his life became progressively more apparent to him, he actually seemed to gain strength and intensity. Rucker's vocal production was clear and powerful, but with some real nuance to it. It was a major-league Rigoletto in Every way.” - The Hartford Courant

"This is a powerful "Rigoletto, not just for the bleakness of Gately's interpretation, but also for the incredibly strong cast of singers, led by baritone Mark Rucker in the title role. Rucker must rank as one of the finest interpreters of the role. His voice is superb, and his acting abilities are amazing. He becomes Rigoletto in spirit and soul. It's incredible to watch Rucker's transformation from the callous and cruel court jester who mocks Monterone's humiliation in Act 1 to the broken, grieving father in Act 3, who realizes that his thirst for revenging the Duke of Mantua's rape of his daughter, Gilda, has resulted in the girl's death. Rucker's tortured anguish at the end of the opera is almost unbearable." - The Desert News

“Mark Rucker plainly has a special connection with the role, which he has sung many times, and he gave a moving performance Friday night at Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center. Rucker's Rigoletto was effective not just because of his towering rage and pathos, but also because of his ordinary, naturalistic qualities. In Rucker's characterization, the jester is not particularly grotesque. He seemed almost merry as the ringleader of the licentious party at the Duke's palace as the opera opens, loping around the stage and trading jibes with his tormentors, the courtiers. Soon enough, of course, Rigoletto will be plunged into misery by the curse that drives the opera, but by seeing him first at his mocking best, his destruction later on becomes more impressive.” - St. Petersburg Times