AT LEEDS GRAND THEATRE 0N 22ND JANUARY
A new production of Rigoletto by Guiseppe Verdi, sung in Italian with English titles, starts the Opera North season at Leeds Grand Theatre on 22nd January.
Leading British-Nigerian theatre artist, Femi Elufowoju Jr. makes his opera directing debut with a new production that maps identity and inequality onto a contemporary canvas.
In an exuberant world controlled by the privileged and rife with racism, Rigoletto, a jester at the court of the Duke, is loathed and mocked for his difference, as well as his vicious tongue. The only thing he lives for is his beautiful daughter Gilda, whom he hides away from this corrupt and misogynistic society. But when a curse is unleashed, and Gilda falls in love with the predatory Duke, Rigoletto sets out on a path of vengeance from which there is no return.
Verdi’s ground-breaking masterpiece, conducted in this new production by Opera North Music Director, Garry Walker, contains some of his most passionate music. Alongside the instantly recognisable melody of the Duke’s ‘La donna è mobile,’ and the tender simplicity of Gilda’s aria ‘Caro nome’, a tightly-plotted sequence of duets unleash an irresistible sweep of tragic momentum.
The cast includes American baritone Eric Greene, whose previous Opera North roles include Amonasro in Aida, Gunther in Götterdämmerung, and Billy Bigelow in Carousel. Russian tenor Roman Arndt and American soprano Jasmine Habersham make their respective Company debuts as the Duke and Gilda, while Jamaican-British bass-baritone Sir Willard White sings Monterone, British bass Callum Thorpe sings Sparafucile, and Zambian-British baritone Themba Mvula sings Marullo.
Performances of Rigoletto are on 22nd January, 29th January, 4th February, 11th, and 19th February.
Also in this season is George Frederick Handel’s opera Alcina opening on 5th February whilst completing the season is Bizet’s masterpiece Carmen which opened the Autumn season of 2021.
For further details of performances visit www.operanorth.co.uk
Pictured above the cast of Rigoletto in rehearsal. Picture by Tom Arber