Overview

Known for pushing the envelope, Rigoletto keeps audiences on the edge of their seats with a thrilling score and a heartbreaking tale of love, lies and sacrifice. Giuseppe Verdi’s classic is updated in this production by Jonathan Miller. Set in 1950s Little Italy, New York, Rigoletto tells the story of a mafia boss whose womanizing ways lead to vengeance and tragedy when he seduces the daughter of his bartender, Rigoletto. Considered one of Verdi’s operatic masterpieces, Rigoletto is not to be missed.

Stephen Lord — “The acclaimed Jonathan Miller is a genuine renaissance man and has created the most successful update of an opera I have seen. It really gets to the truth of the story and Verdi’s intentions.”

Sung in Italian with English supertitles projected above the stage.
Running time, including two 20-minute intermissions: 2hr 45m

RIGOLETTO Playbill (PDF)

Patrons’ Reviews

 

Lecture and Performance

Love, Passion, Treachery, A Curse… in a powerful new interpretation of Verdi’s masterpiece. Lecture by John Zaretti, President of the Verdi Opera Theatre of Michigan, with guest performances of selections from Verdi’s Rigoletto, performed by the MOT Studio Artists.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7:30PM
Chrysler Black Box Theatre at the Detroit Opera House
FREE with RSVP to operaclubs@motopera.org
Complimentary parking in the DOH surface lot

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 degree 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

After performing as the Queen of the Night in Michigan Opera Theatre’s 2016 production of The Magic Flute, soprano So Young Park returns to MOT as Gilda in Rigoletto. A native of Pusan, South Korea, she 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, 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. She has performed the Queen of the Night with Boston Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera (Miller Theater), the Glimmerglass Festival, Hawaii Opera Theatre, and Opera Colorado. Most recently, she returned to Los Angeles as Blonde in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Top Daughter in Akhnaten and Olympia in The Tales of Hoffmann. This season she is a member of the Metropolitan Opera.

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. She 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

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. This season, she will perform Giovanna and cover Maddalena in Rigoletto and star as Gertrude Stein in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 with MOT.

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

Bass-baritone 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 a Gerdine Young Artist with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Erik performed as an Apprentice Artist at Santa Fe Opera this summer. An avid recitalist, Erik has appeared in recital in cities such as Toronto, San Diego, Boston, and New York. This season, Erik will perform Count Ceprano in Rigoletto, Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro (cover), Ernest Hemingway in Ricky Ian Gordon’s 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 in L’heure Espagnole, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, and Juliette in Romeo et Juliette.

Kara Mulder

Countess Ceprano

Schyler Sheltrown

The Page

Schyler Sheltrown is a soprano hailing from Mattawan, Michigan, where her love for music and opera blossomed, studying with David Hook at Mattawan High School. She is a graduate of Michigan State University, where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in vocal performance under the tutelage of Melanie Helton. Since graduation, Ms. Sheltrown has been in hot pursuit of her operatic career, performing across Michigan. In her first year out of school, she received an Encouragement Award in the Michigan District’s Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, performed the role of Princess Yolanda in The Free Lance with the Comic Opera Guild in Ann Arbor, Michigan and sang her first Beethoven 9 as the soprano soloist with the Livingston Orchestra in Howell, Michigan. You also may have seen her in the chorus of Carmen last fall. She is thrilled to be back with Michigan Opera Theatre for the full season, especially as the Page in Rigoletto.

 

Schyler Sheltrown

The Page

Matthew Konopacki

The Usher

Baritone Matthew Konopacki, a native of Livonia Michigan, is an active performer of both classical and contemporary works. Equally comfortable on both the operatic and the concert stage, his repertoire ranges from the cantatas of J.S. Bach to the contemporary operatic music of Kevin Puts. With Michigan Opera Theatre, he has performed the roles of 1st Scottish Soldier in Puts’ Silent Night, Servo in Macbeth, and was a part of the featured ensembles in both David DiChiera’s Cyrano and The Magic Flute. He is also a featured singer on the recent release of DiChiera’s legacy album, Letters & Fantasies. Matthew holds a master’s degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Houston and has appeared as a young artist with Pensacola Opera and the Janiec Opera Company. He will sing the usher role in Rigoletto and perform in the ensemble of MOT’s 2017-18 season.

Matthew Konopacki

The Usher

Elaine Tyler-Hall

Director

Director, choreographer and former dancer Elaine Tyler-Hall has worked with opera companies worldwide. As staff director for English National Opera, she has revived ENO productions including Orpheus and Eurydice, Orfeo, Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, The Turn of the Screw and Semele. She has also worked as assistant and staff director for opera companies including the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Bayerisches Staatsoper in Munich, Opernhaus Zurich, and the Kammeroper in Vienna and has directed works for the Psappha ensemble, Riverside Opera and Blackheath Halls. Her choreography in opera includes La fedelta premiata (Garsington Opera), The Jacobin (Scottish Opera), The Greek Passion (Royal Opera House), Benvenuto Cellini (Zurich Opernhaus) and Pelleas et Melisande (Mariinsky Theatre). She has also worked on TV productions and films, including Shakespeare in Love. Revivals of David Pountney’s very popular The Cunning Little Vixen have taken her to London, Venice, Milan, Seville, Tel Aviv, Glasgow, Cardiff and Athens. Earlier this year she revived Peter Sellar’s production of The Gospel According to the Other Mary in Bonn and choreographed and assisted on a new production of Sadko with Daniel Kramer in Antwerp.

Elaine Tyler-Hall

Director

Stephen Lord

Conductor

Stephen Lord joined Michigan Opera Theatre as Principal Conductor in November 2016, and he will lead the company’s artistic activities through the 2018-19 season.

Opera News named Lord one of the “25 Most Powerful Names in U.S. Opera” (one of four conductors), and he is continually praised for conducting both traditional and contemporary operatic works. For his debut with San Francisco Opera, conducting Rigoletto, one critic observed, “He partnered his singers perfectly and gave everything its proper weight – he was master of the score’s details and the orchestra played superbly for him.” He is currently music director emeritus for Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and was formerly the music director of Boston Lyric Opera.

In addition to this work in Saint Louis and Detroit, he has been a frequent guest conductor at the Canadian Opera Company, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, San Francisco Opera and the English National Opera, returning there for four consecutive seasons.

An outstanding mentor and discoverer of young talent, he has been directly responsible for the initial work of Lawrence Brownlee, Russell Thomas, Morris Robinson, Susan Graham, Christine Goerke, Patricia Racette and literally scores more of today’s best singers.

Stephen Lord

Conductor

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