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VIDEO: Tony Winner Michael Mayer Talks Modern Take on RIGOLETTO for the Met

Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer will make his Met debut with a new production of Verdi's Rigoletto, in a staging that moves the opera's tragic events from a decadent 16th-century Italian court to the glitzy, depraved setting of the Las Vegas strip circa 1960. Mayer stopped by PBS' THIRTEEN to talk about the new production. Watch the interview below!

Polish tenor Piotr Beczala sings the Duke, here an amoral lounge singer whose entourage includes the world-weary comedian Rigoletto, sung by Serbian baritone Željko Lu?i?. German soprano Diana Damrau sings the role of the innocent Gilda, Rigoletto's daughter and the victim of the predatory Duke. Slovakian bass Štefan Kocán sings the assassin-for-hire Sparafucile and Belarussian mezzo-sopranoOksana Volkova makes her Met debut as the seductress Maddalena. Italian conductor Michele Mariotti, who made his Met debut earlier this season, conducts his first company performances of the Verdi masterwork.

Mayer's production will also feature the work of debuting artists Christine Jones (set design), Susan Hilferty (costume design), Kevin Adams (lighting design), and Steven Hoggett (choreography). The Saturday, February 16 matinee performance will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met's Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 1,900 movie theaters in 64 countries around the world.

Beginning April 13, a second cast will take the principal roles. Vittorio Grigolo, who made an acclaimed Met debut as Rodolfo in La Bohème in 2010, will return for his first company performances as the Duke, opposite rising Met star Lisette Oropesa as Gilda and George Gagnidze reprising his powerful interpretation of the title role. Marco Armiliato will conduct this series of performances, which also feature Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Maddalena and Enrico Giuseppe Iori in his Met debut as Sparafucile.

Michael Mayer has directed a diverse range of acclaimed performances on Broadway, on film, and on television. He is perhaps best known to theater audiences for directing two recent Tony Award-winning musicals, Spring Awakening and American Idiot. His additional Broadway credits include the musicals Triumph of Love, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Everyday Rapture, and On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, and the plays 'Night Mother, After the Fall, An Almost Holy Picture, Uncle Vanya, The Lion in Winter, Side Man, and A View From the Bridge. He directed the films Flicka and A Home at the End of the World and several episodes of the Broadway-themed television series "Smash," for which he serves as consulting producer.

Watch Profile: Michael Mayer on PBS. See more from NYC-ARTS.

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