Overview

A classic tale of revenge, treachery, and sacrifice. This production is updated to 1950s Little Italy, New York, and centers around a mafia boss whose womanizing ways leads to vengeance and tragedy when he seduces the daughter of his bartender, Rigoletto. One of Verdi’s operatic masterpieces.

Opera by Giuseppe Verdi
Text by Francesco Maria Piave after Victor Hugo’s Le roi s’amuse
Premiere in Venice, 1851

Sung in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage

Artists

Joshua Guerrero

Duke of Mantua

October 14, 18, 21

Tenor Joshua Guerrero makes his Michigan Opera Theatre debut as the Duke in Rigoletto. Recently Mr. Guerrero was seen at Los Angeles Opera and Zurich Opera in Macbeth. He also made his London debut at the English National Opera in Rigoletto. In concert, he toured Europe with Gustavo Dudamel and the Simón Bolivar Orchestra singing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9. and was a featured soloist at the Richard Tucker Music Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall. Future engagements include debuts with Glyndebourne Festival in Madama Butterfly, Florida Grand Opera in Lucia di Lammermoor, Canadian Opera Company in Rigoletto and a return to Santa Fe Opera for Madama Butterfly. He will also be heard in a concert of opera arias and duets with soprano Joyce El-Khoury and the NDR Radiophilharmonie, which will be broadcast on television throughout Germany.

Joshua Guerrero

Duke of Mantua

October 14, 18, 21

John Bellemer

Duke of Mantua

Oct 22

Possessed of a voice the New York Times described as “clarion-toned,” John Bellemer continues to appear in leading roles at opera houses across North America and Europe. He has previously sung with Michigan Opera Theatre as Done José in Carmen in 2009. Throughout his extensive career, Mr. Bellemer has performed as Faust (Austin Lyric Opera, Hawaii Opera Theatre), Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni (Boston Lyric Opera), Der Steuermann in Der fliegende Holländer (Austin Lyric Opera), Rodolfo in La bohème (Arizona Opera), Nadir in Les pêcheurs de perles (North Carolina Opera), Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Hawaii Opera Theatre), Alfredo in La traviata (Opera Theatre of Saint Louis), and Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia (Maggio Musicale, Florence). Mr. Bellemer holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and a master’s from the University of Illinois. He lives in New York with his wife, Sarah Blaze and their Parson Russell Terrier, Scout.

John Bellemer

Duke of Mantua

Oct 22

Roland Wood

Rigoletto

October 14, 18, 21

English baritone Roland Wood has performed in prestigious opera houses in the United Kingdom and throughout the world. He was a company principal at the Scottish Opera and has performed with The Royal Opera and the English National Opera. He has also performed at the Glyndebourne Festival, Opera North, the Canadian Opera Company, Santa Fe Opera, the English Touring Opera, Nationale Reisopera, the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Grange Park Opera. He studied at the Royal Northern College of Music then National Opera Studio in England. Future performances include Rigoletto with the Canadian Opera Company, Renato in Un ballo in maschera with Grand Park Opera and Giorgio Germont in La Traviata with Welsh National Opera in autumn of 2018.

Roland Wood

Rigoletto

October 14, 18, 21

Nicholas Pallesen

Rigoletto

October 22

Baritone Nicholas Pallesen returns to the title role in Michigan Opera Theatre’s Rigoletto having sung in this same production at the English National Opera earlier this year. Later this season, he sings both Rigoletto and Germont in La Traviata with Oper Köln and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at the Santa Fe Opera. Nicholas has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and is a former Met National Council Auditions Finalist, where he was featured in the documentary, “The Audition.”

Concurrent to his performing career, Nicholas is also a Board Certified Hypnotist and Transformational Coach who specializes in assisting artists in career and life. In addition to a full schedule of clients, he speaks regularly on mental wellness at conservatories and young artist programs and is a guest faculty member at Wolf Trap Opera and the New World Symphony. Following this season, Nicholas will retire from performing in order to focus on his private practice.

Nicholas Pallesen

Rigoletto

October 22

So Young Park

Gilda

October 14, 18, 21

A native of Pusan, South Korea, soprano So Young Park is a graduate of the Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist program with the Los Angeles Opera, where she performed the role of Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Gossip in The Ghosts of Versailles and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro, as well as Pat Nixon in the Music Center’s 50th Anniversary Concert. She recently made her Los Angeles Philharmonic debut as a Soprano Soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy under the baton of Maestro Gustavo Dudamel. She has performed the Queen of the Night with Boston Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera (Miller Theater), the Glimmerglass Festival, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Opera Colorado. Most recently, she performed the role of Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis.

So Young Park

Gilda

October 14, 18, 21

Hae Ji Chang

Gilda

October 22

Soprano Hae Ji Chang makes her Michigan Opera Theatre debut as Gilda in Rigoletto. She has been described as “an exciting young artist on the rise” (Opera Boston) with a voice “full of silvery color and nuance” (Boston Globe). Recent performances include Mimi in La bohème with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Pamina in The Magic Flute in Korea. Previous work also includes originating the role of Setsuko in Jack Perla’s An American Dream with Seattle Opera, Gilda with PORTopera, Pamina with Opera San Jose and Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro with Aspen Opera Theater. Ms. Chang has also performed with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Music Festival Chamber Orchestra and the West Los Angeles Symphony. She trained as a Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist with LA Opera, performing under Plácido Domingo, and was a Gerdine Young Artist with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.

Hae Ji Chang

Gilda

October 22

Kenneth Kellogg

Count Monterone

Washington D.C. bass Kenneth Kellogg makes his Michigan Opera Theatre debut as Count Montenero in Rigoletto. He will reprise the role of Sam Bankhead in The Summer King, which he originated with Pittsburgh Opera in 2017. Performance highlights include Zuniga in Carmen and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with Washington National Opera; Mefistofeles in Faust and Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte with Opera de Lausanne; Gremin in Eugene Onegin with North Carolina Opera and Young Emile Griffith in Terence Blanchard’s Champion with Opera Parallèle. He holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio University. He has also served as a resident artist at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia and is an alumnus of Washington National Opera’s Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program. Future performances include Handel’s Messiah with the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra, Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte with the National Philharmonic at Strathmore.

Kenneth Kellogg

Count Monterone

Nicole Piccolomini

Maddalena

This season, mezzo-soprano Nicole Piccolomini makes her Michigan Opera Theatre debut as Maddalena in Rigoletto, is a resident concert artist in Kunnersdorf, Germany, and will release her first album in collaboration with pianist Christoph Staude featuring songs of Mahler, Wagner, Berg and Brahms. Last season included performances of Quickly in Falstaff with Shanghai Opera, the title role in Maria de Buenos Aires at Theater Bonn, the Page in Salome with Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Erda in Siegfried with Oper Leipzig. Other recent performances include: Das Rheingold and Siegfried (Oper Leipzig); Wesendonck Lieder (Venice Chamber Orchestra); Rigoletto (Santa Fe Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Deutsche Oper Berlin); Cherevichki (Teatro Lirico di Cagliari); Nabucco, Götterdämmerung, Luisa Miller, Das Rheingold, Die Zauberflöte, Elektra, and Die Walküre (Deutsche Oper Berlin); Götterdämmerung and Cavalleria rusticana (Opéra national de Paris). Originally from Long Island, New York, was a resident artist at the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts and holds a Bachelor of Music from the Juilliard School.

Nicole Piccolomini

Maddalena

Christian Zaremba

Sparafucile

Praised by the New York Times as “a stage animal with a big bass voice,” Christian Zaremba makes his Michigan Opera Theatre debut as Sparafucile in Rigoletto. He has recently performed as Master Fal in the U.S. premiere of Milhaud’s La mère coupable with On Site Opera; Colline in La bohème with Portland Opera and Opera Omaha; Collatinus in The Rape of Lucretia, Bartolo in Le nozze de Figaro, Passagallo in Gassmann’s L’Opera Seria with Wolf Trap Opera; Jake Wallace in La fanciulla del West with Opera Omaha; and Commendatore in Don Giovanni with New York’s Venture Opera. A graduate of New York University, Mr. Zaremba was previously a stage-combat-fighter in multiple productions with the Metropolitan Opera. In the 2017-18 season, Mr. Zaremba will return to the Metropolitan Opera for his stage debut as Angelotti in Tosca and will make his debut with Austin Opera as Zuniga in Carmen.

Christian Zaremba

Sparafucile

Matthew DiBattista

Borsa

Recently described as “brilliant” and “mega-talented” by Opera News, tenor Matthew DiBattista makes his debut with Michigan Opera Theatre as Matteo Borsa in Rigoletto. He has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Florida Grand Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Boston Symphony, as well as other major symphonies, festivals, and conductors across the U.S. and abroad. An alumnus of University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Mr. DiBattista has recently performed Normano in Lucia di Lammermoor with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Don Basilio in Le nozze di Figaro with Boston Lyric Opera, the First Jew in Salome with Minnesota Orchestra, and he can be heard in recording as the title role in Kamran Ince’s Judgment of Midas with Albany Records. In the 2017-18 season, Mr. DiBattista debuts with the Santa Fe Opera as Goro in Madama Butterfly and as Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos in the summer of 2018.

Matthew DiBattista

Borsa

Briana Elyse Hunter

Giovanna

Originally from Malvern, Pennsylvania, Briana Elyse Hunter returns for her second year as Michigan Opera Theatre Studio’s resident mezzo-soprano. Her MOT credits include Wowkle in The Girl of the Golden West, Jo March in Little Women, Madeleine Audebert in Silent Night and Mercedes in Carmen. She has been on the rosters of Santa Fe Opera, Knoxville Opera, American Opera Projects, Opera in the Heights, the I SING BEIJING festival, Sarasota Opera, El Paso Opera and Music Academy of the West. She most recently performed at The Glimmerglass Festival as Annie in Porgy and Bess and covered Arsamenes in Xerxes. She holds a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music in vocal performance and a bachelor’s degree in theater from Davidson College. She will star as Gertrude Stein in MOT’s March production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27.

Briana Elyse Hunter

Giovanna

Harry Greenleaf

Marullo

Wixom, Michigan native Harry Greenleaf is Michigan Opera Theatre Studio’s resident baritone. He made his debut with Michigan Opera Theatre in 2016 in the role of Top in The Tender Land. His credits with MOT also include Le Bret in Cyrano, Jack Wallace in The Girl of the Golden West and Morales in Carmen. He has been a Studio Artist with the Wolf Tap Opera Company and an Apprentice Artist with Des Moines Metro Opera and a Young Artist with the Glimmerglass Festival. He holds a Master of Music degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is an alumnus of the Michigan State University College of Music. Future performances include working as a Young Artist at the Glimmerglass Festival this summer. This season, Harry will perform with MOT as Marullo in Rigoletto, Sciarrone in Tosca and the roles of Leo Stein and Man Ray in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27.

Harry Greenleaf

Marullo

Erik Van Heyningen

Count Ceprano

A native of Poway, Cal., bass Erik Van Heyningen makes his debut at Michigan Opera Theatre as a Studio Artist. He has sung with opera companies across the country, including performing as a Richard Gaddes Festival Artist and Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Erik holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at Boston University and is completing a Certificate in Opera Performance from the university’s competitive Opera Institute. Erik performed as an Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera this summer. This season, Erik will perform Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro (cover), Ernest Hemingway et. al in 27 and Angelotti and the Jailer in Tosca at MOT.

Erik Van Heyningen

Count Ceprano

Kara Mulder

Countess Ceprano

Kara Mulder, a soprano from Philadelphia, is making her debut with Michigan Opera Theatre as Countess Ceprano in Rigoletto. After achieving her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, she immediately began her Master of Music in Voice at the University of Michigan. Some of Kara’s past roles include Concepción, L’heure Espagnole, Fiordiligi, Così fan tutte, and Juliette in Romeo et Juliette.

Kara Mulder

Countess Ceprano

Elaine Tyler-Hall

Director

Stephen Lord

Conductor

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