San Francisco Opera’s 2012-2013 season opens on September 7 with a production of ‘Rigoletto’ which runs through September 30. Conductor Nicola Luisotti leads the San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus and a cast of international artists in Verdi’s dramatic portrayal of the hunch-backed jester at the court of the Duke of Mantua, and his desperate attempts to protect his daughter from a disastrous relationship with the lecherous Duke.
The opera – with libretto by Francesco Maria Piave – was based on Victor Hugo’s play ‘Le roi s’amuse’ and originally entitled ‘La maledizione’ (The Curse). It was first performed at La Fenice in Venice on March 11, 1851. Its first performance in San Francisco was in 1923.
Sung in Italian with English supertitles, ‘Rigoletto’ will run for 12 performances, featuring two casts of principals. The opening night will feature Željko Lučić in the title role, with Aleksandra Kurzak as Gilda, and Francesco Demuro in the role of the Duke.
Serbian baritone and Verdi specialist, Željko Lučić, makes a return visit to San Francisco to play Rigoletto – a role which he’s also performed in Paris, Cologne, Madrid and Dresden – and which he will go on to perform at La Scala in Milan and at the Metropolitan Opera later in the season. Mr Lučić’s first appearance with San Francisco Opera was as Giorgio Germont in ‘La Traviata’ in 2004, and in 2005 he returned to sing Don Carlo in ‘La Forza del Destino’.
Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, who – as Gilda – makes her Company debut, has previously appeared in this role at the Metropolitan Opera, at La Scala, and in Parma, Hamburg, Helsinki and Toulouse. Later in the season, she will sing Gilda at both the Polish National and Zurich operas. Ms Kurzak’s recent appearances include Juliette in ‘Roméo et Juliette’ at the Arena di Verona, Violetta in ‘La Traviata’ at Polish National Opera, and Mimi in ‘La Bohème in Naples.
A native of Sardinia, tenor Francesco Demuro also makes his San Francisco Opera debut, as the Duke of Mantua – a role in which he’s previously appeared in Hong Kong, Parma, Turin, Vienna, Beijing and Dresden. Other career highlights include Nemorino in ‘L’Elisir d’Amore’ at La Scala and the Vienna State Opera; Rodolfo in ‘La Bohème’ at the Vienna State Opera and in Detroit; and Alfredo Germont in ‘La Traviata’ with Seattle Opera, and also in Dresden, Verona and Santiago. In 2013, Mr Demuro will be returning to San Francisco Opera as Ferrando in ‘Così fan tutte’.
American mezzo-soprano Kendall Gladen, who sings Maddalena, most recently appeared with San Francisco Opera last season, in the title role of ‘Carmen’. A former Adler Fellow, her past Company appearances include Mercedes in ‘Carmen’, a Singer in ‘Manon Lescaut’, Giovanna in ‘Rigoletto’, the Second Lady in ‘Die Zauberflöte’, and she created the role of Elizabeth Keckley in Philip Glass and Christopher Hampton’s ‘Appomattox’.
In the role of Count Monterone, Canadian bass Robert Pomakov also makes his first appearance with San Francisco Opera. He has recently sung the role with the Canadian Opera Company, and other career highlights include his Washington Opera debut as Leporello in ‘Don Giovanni’, as Nikitich in ‘Boris Godunov’ at Madrid’s Teatro Real, as Varlaam in ‘Boris Godunov’ in Brussels, and the Chamberlain in ‘Le Rossignol’ in a co-production with the Canadian Opera Company and Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Italian bass, Andrea Silvestrelli, who takes the role of Sparafucile, debuted with San Francisco Opera in 1998 as Oroveso in ‘Norma’, and returned as Fasolt in ‘Das Rheingold’, as Il Tabarro in ‘Il Talpa’, as Simone in ‘Gianni Schicchi’, as Osmin in ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’, and in the Company’s production of ‘Il Trittico’. He most recently appeared with San Francisco Opera as Fasolt and Hagen in the 2011 Ring cycle. Amongst his career highlights was a performance as the Commendatore in ‘Don Giovanni’ with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, which was recorded and received a 1995 Grammy Award.
Casting, programs, schedules and ticket prices for these performances are subject to change. For further information and bookings, please visit sfopera.com.
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