Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Photos courtesy of Jeff Roffman for The Atlanta Opera
Friday, May 13 – 7:30 PM | Saturday, May 14 – 7:30 PM
Italian grand opera at its finest
Considered to be the birth of Italian grand opera and one of Verdi’s most memorable creations, Rigoletto is a heartrending journey of unrelenting force powered by one recognizable melody after another. The story, based on the controversial play by acclaimed French writer Victor Hugo, resonates with a universality frequently likened to Shakespeare. Fire is fought with fire in this rapidly unfolding drama between a conniving court jester, a promiscuous duke, and an innocent daughter caught in their feud. When the jester seeks revenge, who will have the last laugh?
Presented at DeVos Performance Hall
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Stage Director: Stephanie Havey | Conductor: Maestro James Meena
Opera Grand Rapids Chorus | Grand Rapids Symphony
Language: Presented in Italian with English titles
For tickets, contact our Box Office at 616.451.2741 or purchase online at Ticketmaster. Season subscriptions on sale now. Single tickets go one sale August 15.
Student tickets just $5 for any performance.
Student tickets can be purchased prior to the performance day or at the door. Student ID required at the door.
Casting, repertoire and event details are subject to change without notice or refunds, but are specified in good faith as accurate and updated accordingly. Refunds not accepted.
DeVos Hall Ticket Prices
Conductor | Maestro James Meena
James Meena, Opera Carolina’s General Director and Principal Conductor since 2000, consistently earns critical acclaim for his artistic vision and dynamic presence on the podium. The breadth of his repertoire is represented by the works of Mozart, Beethoven, Puccini, Berlioz and Verdi, the world première of Victor Davies’ Transit of Venus, to full ballet productions and symphony concerts. This season, Mo. Meena conducts a double-bill of Pagliacci/Aleko with New York City Opera; Il barbiere di Siviglia, La fanciulla del West, and La traviata with Opera Carolina; a Masterworks Concert with Memphis Symphony Orchestra; a concert with Toledo Symphony Orchestra; and La bohème with Opéra de Montréal and the Puccini Festival in Torre del Lago. More.
Director | Stephanie Havey
Winner of the 2014 Adelaide Bishop award for artistic quality and 2013 winner of the Opera America Director-Designer Showcase, Stephanie Havey has directed for Opera Philadelphia, Pittsburgh Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Omaha, North Carolina Opera, and Shreveport Opera. Ms. Havey’s new productions have been featured at The Curtis Institute of Music, Tulsa Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera North, Opera Fayetteville, and Opera in the Heights in Houston. Recently she joined the staging staff at San Francisco Opera for Olivier Tambosi’s production of Jenůfa and The Santa Fe Opera for a new production of Salome directed by Daniel Slater. More.
Meet the Cast | Eglise Gutiérrez—Gilda
Soprano Eglise Gutiérrez, receiving acclaim as “one of opera’s next wave” from Opera News for her portrayals of Bel Canto opera’s preeminent leading ladies, has performed at some of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. This season finds Eglise Gutiérrez at The Metropolitan Opera for their production of I puritani.
Renowned for her interpretation of Amina in La sonnambula, Ms. Gutiérrez regularly performs the role on international stages including The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Carnegie Hall, and Michigan Opera Theatre, under the direction of Renata Scotto and the baton of Maestro Richard Bonynge. Of her performance at Carnegie Hall, The New York Times lauded, “a wonderfully nuanced portrayal of Amina… Vulnerable and sweetly innocent, she sang (often in a stratospherically high range) with graceful phrasing and dynamic control.” More.
Meet the Cast | Stephen Gaertner—Rigoletto
Since his Metropolitan Opera debut as Enrico in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in October 2007, American baritone Stephen Gaertner has emerged as an artist to watch in the operatic world. His other roles at the Met have included Melot in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, Paolo in Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, Montano in Verdi’s Otello and Chorèbe in Berlioz’s Les Troyens. He made his European debut in December 2010 with Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, Belgium as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen. Recent career highlights have included an appearance with the 2013 Savonlinna Opera Festival in Savonlinna, Finland in the title role of Verdi’s Macbeth, a role he reprised for the 2015 Opernfestspiele Heidenheim in Heidenheim, Germany. He made his Italian debut in July 2016 with Teatro di San Carlo, Naples as Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, and appeared in October 2016 with Teatro de la Ópera, San Juan, Puerto Rico as Iago in Verdi’s Otello. This fall he sings the title role in Verdi’s Rigoletto with Opera Grand Rapids. More.
Meet the Cast | Raffaele Abete—Duke
As the winner of the competition “Una voce per l’Arena,” tenor Raffaele Abete made his debut at the Arena di Verona as Ismaele in Nabucco in the summer of 2015. His other recent engagements include Romeo in Gounod’s Romeo et Juliette on opening night of Arena di Verona’s 93rd Lyric season, Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni and Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor at Teatro Gaetano Donizetti in Bergamo, and Rodolfo in La Bohème at Teatro Filarmonico di Verona.
In 2016 he made his American debut for the reopening of the New York City Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca by G. Puccini with critical acclaim and a personal success with the public. Mr. Abete’s past season 2017 includes Rigoletto at Teatro Filarmonico di Verona, at Teatro Comunale di Bologna and at Festival Verdi in Busseto. More.
Meet the Cast | Matthew Curran—Sparafucile
Praised for his “smooth, rich sound” and “stylish power” by The Baltimore Sun, bass Matthew Curran brings a blend of intelligent musicianship and strong dramatic instincts to a variety of roles. Having sung on the stages of the Zürich Opera, Seattle, Atlanta, Memphis, and many other regional opera houses, he is a major talent on the rise. His operatic repertoire includes Filippo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, Sarastro in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, Oroveso in Bellini’s Norma, Frère Laurent in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette, and Colline in Puccini’s La Bohème. On the concert stage, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Handel’s Messiah, Mozart, Verdi, and Brahms Requiems, and the great Bach Oratorios. He is also an eager interpreter of song literature and new works. More.
Meet the Cast | Leyla Martinucci—Maddalena
Mezzo-soprano Leyla Martinucci has recently appeared as Flora in La Traviata at Miami Lyric Opera and in critically-acclaimed performances of Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro Vittorio Emanuele in Noto.
She has performed at Teatro Politeama in Lecce as Oscar in Un Ballo in Maschera, and at the Sferisterio in Macerata as Il Pastorello at the age of 10.
After that, in 2015 she was invited to sing with the Wuhan Philarmonic Orchestra in China at Quintai Concert Hall under the baton of Maestro J. Peng Liu and to sing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater conducted by Maestro Stefano Vignati for the Opening night of the Festival Barocco’s 43th edition. More.
Meet the Cast | Ashraf Sewailam—Monterone
The New York Times hailed Ashraf Sewailam’s début at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall as a “stand out performance” and Opera News described his voice as “purring and velvety with an easily produced Ramfis-like top range with a majestic tone,” and his stage presence as “strong, mysterious and with mesmerizing intensity.” This season, Mr. Sewailam performs the roles of Mustafa in L’italiana in Algeri with Portland Opera, Alidoro in La Cenerentola with San Diego Opera, and Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera San Antonio. He will also perform the bass solo in both Händel’s Messiah with American University in Beirut and Beethoven’s Mass in C with Cairo Symphony. More.
Rigoletto, the court jester, is known to mock those that fall victim to the Duke’s seductive advances. When the Duke sets his eyes upon Rigoletto’s own carefully-hidden daughter, Gilda, the jester vows to have revenge. Tragedy strikes when the vulnerable young maiden becomes a helpless pawn in her father’s quest for vengeance.