Rising Italian conductor Michele Mariotti leads the new production premiere of Rigoletto, seen in a new staging by the Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer in his Met debut. Mayer’s approach transports the story from 16th-century Italy to Las Vegas in 1960, with a cast led by Željko Lučić in the title role, Diana Damrau as his daughter, Gilda, Piotr Beczala as the Duke of Mantua, Štefan Kocán as the assassin Sparafucile, and Oksana Volkova in her Met debut as Sparafucile’s seductive sister, Maddalena. “I’ve tried to imagine a recent world that captures the decadence of the Duke’s palace, where the participants are in pursuit of power, money, and beauty,” Mayer says. “Las Vegas in the ‘60s is such a world, where a kind of prankster energy could go bad—it’s the epitome of the kinds of events that happen in Rigoletto.”
As Rigoletto, Željko Lucic’s “voice is big and penetrating, focused and true… His phrasing is supple and elegant,” and Diana Damrau sings Gilda “radiantly, combining agile coloratura with plush, vibrant sound, the embodiment of youthful yearning and restlessness.”—The New York Times
As the Duke, Piotr Beczala displays a “big, beautiful tenor with great presence,” and Mayer’s production “gives a contemporary immediacy to this tale of how power and vice corrupt everything around them… The strong cast of principals carries out the concept with gusto.”—The Wall Street Journal
A lecture will precede the opera at 12:15 pm in the Balcony Lounge by Michelle Krisel.
Since being named the General Director in 2010, Michelle Krisel has grown the opera audience of the Ash Lawn Opera Festival by 93% and expanded its season from the summer to also include holiday performances in the winter, as well. The Daily Progress described its 2011 production of The King and I as “the best locally produced musical seen here in years”. Prior to joining Ash Lawn Opera, Ms. Krisel worked at Washington National Opera since 1996 when Plácido Domingo invited her to be his special assistant and later design and lead the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, as well as oversee the Education and Community Programs. Ms. Krisel began her career as a vocal coach and assistant conductor with opera companies; and later managed the careers of opera singers and conductors world-wide. She has been a regular panelist on the Metropolitan Opera Quiz for over 20 years and has written about music for many publications. She is a graduate of Yale University, has studied at the Vienna Hochschule für Musik, and holds a Master in Music from the University of Southern California. Ms. Krisel is the mother of three children: twin sons who are students at Yale University and a daughter who works in NYC; and resides in Charlottesville with Amb. Paul Hare.
Approximate runtime: 3 hrs. 31 min.