Metropolitan Opera Presents Michael Mayer's RIGOLETTO, Today

Metropolitan Opera Presents Michael Mayer's RIGOLETTO, Today

Michael Mayer's 2013 production of Verdi's Rigoletto, set in a 1960s Las Vegas casino, returns to the Met January 20. Italian conductor Pier Giorgio Morandi makes his company debut leading Željko Lu?i? in the title role opposite Olga Peretyatko as Gilda and Stephen Costello as the Duke. Initial performances also star Oksana Volkova as Maddalena and Italian bass Andrea Mastroni in his Met debut as Sparafucile. Beginning on April 19, Rigoletto returns with Lu?i? and Peretyatko reprising Rigoletto and Gilda and also starring Joseph Calleja as the Duke with Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Maddalena and Štefan Kocán as Sparafucile.

Željko Lu?i? sings Rigoletto, a role he previously sang at the Met, as well as at La Scala, Semperoper Dresden Opera, and Paris Opera. Lu?i? made his Met debut in 2006 as Barnaba in Ponchielli's La Gioconda and has sung 12 other roles with the company, including the title role in Verdi's Macbeth, Amonasro in Aida, Carlo Gérard in Giordano's Andrea Chénier, and last season company role debuts as Iago in the new production of Verdi's Otello and Scarpia in Puccini's Tosca. Earlier this season at the Met, he reprised the title role of Verdi's Nabucco and Jochanaan in Strauss's Salome. In May, he will be a soloist at the Met's 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center Gala.

Olga Peretyatko sang Gilda last season at the Met, and she has sung the role at Zurich Opera, Teatro Real in Madrid, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Paris Opera. She made her Met debut in 2014 as Elvira in Bellini's I Puritani. Recent credits with other companies include Marfa in Rimsky-Korsakov's Die Zarenbraut at La Scala, Adina in Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Hamburg State Opera, and Donna Fiorilla in Rossini's Il Turco in Italia at the Bavarian State Opera. She will sing Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore at the Vienna State Opera, Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, and Leïla in Bizet's Les Pêcheurs de Perles at the Berlin State Opera later this year.

Stephen Costello reprises the Duke, a role he sang previously at the Houston Grand Opera and Hamburg State Opera. He made his Met debut in 2007 as Arturo in Lucia di Lammermoor, followed by roles as Alfredo Germont in La Traviata, Camille de Rosillon in Lehár's The Merry Widow, and Lord Percy in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. He can be seen this season as Roméo in Gonoud's Roméo et Juliette at the Met, as well as reprising his role as the Alfredo Germont in La Traviata at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow.

Joseph Calleja made his Met debut as the Duke in Rigoletto in 2006, a role he has sung at the Bavarian State Opera and Munich Opera Festival. Other roles with the company include Macduff in Macbeth, Rodolfo in Puccini's La Bohème, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor,the title character in Gonoud's Faust, and Gabriele Adorno in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. Later this season, he can be seen as a soloist at the Met's 50th Anniversary at Lincoln Center Gala, followed by performances as Cavaradossi in Tosca at the Grange Park Opera and Jacopo in Verdi's I due Foscari at the Salzburg Festival.

Andrea Mastroni makes his Met debut as Sparafucile, a role he has sung with La Scala on tour in Japan, Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Paris Opera, and Hamburg State Opera. Other notable roles include Ramfis in Aida at Arena di Verona and Zurich Opera, Giorgio Germont in La Traviata at La Scala, Colline in La Bohème at La Fenice, and Sarastro in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at the Hamburg State Opera. Later this season, he will sing Jacopo Fiesco in Simon Boccanegra at Opéra de Monte-Carlo and Théâtre des Champs-Elysées and Carlo V in Verdi'sDon Carlo at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden.

Štefan Kocán made his Met debut in 2009 as the King in Aida. He sang the role of Sparafucile at the Met for the first time in 2011 and reprised the role in the 2013 premiere performances of the current production, as well as last season. His other credits the company include Khan Konchak in Borodin's Prince Igor, Ferrando in Verdi's Il Trovatore, the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlo, the Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni, and Gremin in Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin. This season, he can be seen reprising the roles of the Commendatore in Don Giovanni and Gremin in Eugene Onegin at the Met.

Oksana Volkova made her Met debut in 2013 as Maddalena in Rigoletto. She has also sung Olga in Eugene Onegin and Sonyetka in Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk with the company. Her other credits include the title role Bizet's Carmen at the Lithuanian National Opera, Lola in Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana at La Scala, and Olga in Eugene Onegin at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Later this season, she will sing Preziosilla in Verdi's La Forza del Destino with the Israeli Opera.

Nancy Fabiola Herrera has sung the role of Maddalena over 35 times at the Met. She made her company debut as Suzuki in Puccini'sMadama Butterfly and has also sung the title character in Carmen, at the Met. Earlier this season, she sang Herodias in Salome and Fenena in Nabucco with the company. Her other recent credits include the title role of Carmen at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Bavarian State Opera, and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Paula in Catán's Florencia en el Amazonas at the Los Angeles Opera and Washington Opera; and Dalila in Saint-Saëns's Samson et Dalila at the Ópera de Oviedo.

Pier Giorgio Morandi makes his Met debut conducting Rigoletto. He began his career as the principal oboist in the La Scala Orchestra for ten years, then as an assistant conductor at La Scala, followed by becoming the Principal Conductor of the Rome Opera and Principal Guest Conductor at the Stockholm Royal Opera. He has conducted at opera houses around the world including the Stockholm Royal Opera House, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Frankfurt State Opera, Zurich Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He will conduct Donizetti'sLucia di Lammermoor at the Hamburg State Opera and Puccini's Turandot at the Macerata Opera Festival later this year.

Rigoletto Fun Facts

Verdi's opera, based on the Victor Hugo play Le roi s'amuse, took 40 days to compose and premiered at La Fenice in 1851. Initially, the work had problems with censorship, but one of the Austrian censors was a Verdi fan and suggested shifting the action from the French King to the fictional Duke of Manua. During this time, the title character took on the name Rigoletto, a name derived from the title of another Hugo play,Rigoletti, ou Le dernier des fous, with the French word rigolo translating to the word funny. Francesco Maria Piave, the librettist for this opera, worked with Verdi frequently during the composer's middle period on other popular works including Ernani, Macbeth, La Traviata, and La Forza del Destino.

Rigoletto had its first Met performances in the company's inaugural 1883-84 season. Rigoletto is the sixth most-performed opera in the Met repertory, with 878 performances to date. Among the hundreds of stars who have sung in Rigoletto at the Met, the most company performances to date have been given by Roberta Peters as Gilda (88 performances between 1951 and 1985), Jan Peerce as the Duke of Mantua (55 performances between 1941 and 1965), and Cornell MacNeil as Rigoletto (102 performances between 1959 and 1980). Although the three artists were active during many of the same years, all three sang together in Rigoletto in only one Met performance, a 1965 concert presentation of the opera at Lewisohn Stadium.

Rigoletto Radio Broadcasts

The January 26 performance of Rigoletto will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS XM Channel 74. This performance will also be streamed live on the Met's website, www.metopera.org.

The February 4 matinee performance at 1:00 p.m. will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.

For More Information

For more information on Rigoletto including casting by date, please click here.

(Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)