LA Opera is no stranger to the impassioned operas of Giuseppe Verdi. In the last six seasons alone, the company has staged five operas written by the Italian composer, from popular favorites including La Traviata, Falstaff and Macbeth, to lesser-known works like The Two Foscari and Nabucco.
Another classic – Rigoletto – returns to the stage on May 12. Here are five things you may not know about LA Opera’s upcoming production of Rigoletto!
Revisiting an Italian Classic
Mark Lamos and Michael Yeargan’s colorful and fanciful production of this Verdi favorite returns to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion for the first time since 2010. The production premiered in 1997 at San Francisco Opera, where it has been revived several times, and was also seen last year at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Juan Jésus Rodríguez has performed leading Verdi baritone roles throughout Europe and at the Metropolitan Opera, but his LA Opera debut will mark his first American appearance as the tragic court jester. Fresh off the heels of her triumphant Operalia win last year, Adela Zaharia makes her first LA Opera appearance in the last three performances as Gilda. Tenor Michael Fabiano, who performed at the Plácido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert in November, makes his mainstage debut as the Duke of Mantua — a role he’s performed all over the world, including London, Paris, Dresden and more.
After making his LA Opera debut as Scarpia in its 2017 production of Tosca, the Italian baritone returns once again as the titular character in the final three performances of Rigoletto. Lisette Oropesa, most recently seen in Orpheus and Eurydice last month, returns to Los Angeles in one of her favorite roles, Gilda. Another LA Opera favorite, Arturo Chacón-Cruz, sings the role of the Duke in the first three performances.
Matthew Aucoin at the Podium
Matthew Aucoin, the multi-talented composer/writer/conductor who’s now in his second season as LA Opera’s Artist in Residence, will take to the conductor’s podium for all six performances of Rigoletto. He made his first conducting appearances with the company last year, leading Philip Glass’ Akhnaten and conducting his own score for Nosferatu at the Theatre at ACE Hotel last year. On May 25 and 26, Aucoin will conduct his opera Crossing as part of LA Opera Off Grand.
YAPs Take the Stage
LA Opera uses its Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artists to its full advantage by placing them in comprimario (supporting) roles in nearly all of its productions. In Rigoletto, soprano Liv Redpath sings the role of Countess Ceprano, baritone Juan Carlos Heredia sings Marullo, tenor Joshua Wheeker sings Borsa and mezzo-soprano Michelle Siemens takes the stage as the Page.LA Opera is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the greater good.