Photos: First Look At Verid's RIGOLETTO At Opera San José

The production is led by visionary director Dan Wallace Miller, acclaimed for his work with Seattle Opera and other national companies.

By: Jan. 30, 2024

Opera San José’s 40th anniversary season continues with a thrilling production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. See photos from the production.

Boasting some of opera’s most memorable music, including the signature aria “La donna è mobile,” this gripping work follows the jester Rigoletto, his innocent daughter Gilda, and the corrupt Duke of Mantua whose callous treatment of women launches a storm of vengeance, murder, and tragic self-sacrifice.

The production is led by visionary director Dan Wallace Miller, acclaimed for his work with Seattle Opera and other national companies, while Jorge Parodi guest conducts for the South Bay opera company – both making their OSJ debuts. For more information or to purchase tickets ($55–$195), the public can visit operasj.org or call 408-437-4450 (open Monday through Friday, 9:00am–5:00pm).   

The production will feature an exciting roster of talented singers, including OSJ favorite, baritone Eugene Brancoveanu in the title role of Rigoletto*. Soprano Melissa Sondhi, Opera San José’s Wadhwani Artist-in-Resident who starred earlier this season as Juliet in OSJ’s Romeo and Juliet, returns in the role of Gilda, and tenor Edward Graves, recently seen as Gastone in San Francisco Opera’s La traviata, makes his OSJ debut as the Duke of Mantua*. (* The 2pm, Sunday, Feb. 18 performance will feature baritone Robert Balonek as Rigoletto and tenor WooYoung Yoon as the Duke of Mantua.) 

“Rigoletto is one of opera’s timeless tragedies and Verdi’s most popular works as it embraces the many emotions we have as humans from cruel mockery and white-hot rage to heart-melting despair and undeniable love for family. This beloved opera is an indestructible, eternal testament to the sacrifices we make for our job, our loved ones, and our honor,” said Opera San José General Director / CEO Shawna Lucey. “Audiences will follow jester Rigoletto and his vendetta that’s far from funny and discover who will get the last laugh. This dark work is bursting with unique arias and compositions filled with character insight that take a deeper look into the pursuit and abuse of power.”  
 
The stellar cast also includes bass-baritone Ashraf Sewailam as the ruthless professional assassin Sparafucile, mezzo soprano Melisa Bonetti Luna as Sparafucile’s scheming sister Maddalena, and bass-baritone Philip Skinner as the doomed Count Monterone along with Abigail Bush (as Countess Ceprano), Andrew Fellows (as Usher), Glenn Healy (as Count Ceprano), Michael Jesse Kuo (as Marullo), Eric Levintow (as Matteo Borsa), Courtney Miller (as Giovanna), and Leandra Ramm (as Page). Brennah Kemmerly will perform as Page for the 2pm, Sunday, March 3 performance. The chorus ensemble is comprised of Jim Cowing, Carter Dougherty, Andrew Green, Robert Glenmore Hall III, Michaël S. Kim, Eric Mellum, Pravesh Mehra, Nicholas Molle, Isa Pudiyapura, and Nicolas Vasquez-Gerst. 

The creative team for this production is Jorge Parodi (Guest Conductor), Dan Wallace Miller (Director), Steven C. Kemp (Scenic Designer), Davida Tkach (Lighting Designer), Christina Martin (Hair and Makeup Designer), Johannes Löhner (Assistant Conductor and Chorus Master), and Michelle Ainna Cuizon (Assistant Director). Johannes Löhner will serve as conductor for this production at the 7:30pm, Friday, March 1 and 2pm, Sunday, March 3 performances. 

Rigoletto, Verdi’s sixteenth opera, is widely considered the first of the composer’s middle career masterpieces and features some of opera’s most recognizable music. The three-act opera, composed by Giuseppe Verdi with libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, made its world premiere at Teatro La Fenice in Venice, Italy on March 11, 1851. The opera was based on Victor Hugo’s controversial 1832 play Le Roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself, performed in English as The King’s Fool). Following Rigoletto, Verdi’s next two operas were Il trovatore and La traviata – all three esteemed staples in operatic repertoire today. Rigoletto is set in 16th century Mantua, Italy, following the outsider, a jester who struggles to balance the conflicting nature of beauty and evil in his life. Among its landmark arias is “La donna è mobile,” in which the wicked Duke of Mantua explains his understanding of the fickleness of women.  

“Classically Curious” night for Rigoletto will be held Friday, February 23, bringing together people ages 21-40 who have a passion for deepening their involvement with opera. This young professionals program was created to introduce new audiences to opera, offering access to discounted tickets, exclusive behind-the-scenes opportunities, and social and community events that will connect young adult opera lovers.  More information can be found at go.operasj.org/ClassicallyCurious

Photo Credit: David Allen

Photos: First Look At Verid's RIGOLETTO At Opera San José
Eugene Brancoveanu and Edward Graves

Photos: First Look At Verid's RIGOLETTO At Opera San José
Eugene Brancoveanu

Photos: First Look At Verid's RIGOLETTO At Opera San José
Melissa Sondhi and Edward Graves

Photos: First Look At Verid's RIGOLETTO At Opera San José
Eugene Brancoveanu and Melissa Sondhi

Photos: First Look At Verid's RIGOLETTO At Opera San José
Edward Graves and Melissa Sondhi




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