Giuseppe Verdi’s popular masterpiece Rigoletto returns to the Met this season featuring five artists in their Met debuts and four performers singing major roles for the first time with the company. On September 29, Lado Ataneli sings the hunchback court jester and Christine Schäfer is his daughter Gilda, both adding new roles to their Met repertory. Conductor Paolo Arrivabeni makes his Met debut, as does Francesco Meli as the Duke of Mantua, Nino Surguladze as Maddalena, and Andrea Silvestrelli as Sparafucile. On October 5, George Gagnidze returns to the role of Rigoletto which he sang at the Met in 2009.
Nino Machaidze makes her Met debut as Gilda on January 11, 2011, and Joseph Calleja returns as the Duke, the role of his Met debut in 2006. Giovanni Meoni adds a new role to his Met repertory in the title role, and Kirstin Chávez and Stefan Kocán do the same as Maddalena and Sparafucile respectively. In the spring run, beginning April 26, the Met’s principal guest conductor, Fabio Luisi leads a cast that includes Diana Damrau as Gilda (for two performances only, Machaidze sings the others), Giuseppe Filianoti as the Duke, and Željko Lučić in his Met role debut as Rigoletto. Nancy Fabiola Herrera returns as Maddalena.
The five debuting artists include three Italian and two Georgian artists. Tenor Francesco Meli has sung the Duke at the Royal Opera Covent Garden and in Palermo. He sings many roles in the lyric tenor repertory and has performed at La Scala and the Vienna State Opera, among many other major theaters. Bass Andrea Silvestrelli has sung Sparafucile in both Chicago and Houston, and will also make his Los Angeles Opera debut in the same role this season. Conductor Paolo Arrivabeni is music director at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Liège, Belgium. He has conducted in many major European houses, including the Paris Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and Berlin State Opera.
In 2007, Georgian soprano Nino Machaidze sang the title role in La Fille du Régiment at La Scala, where she had graduated from the company’s Academy for young artists. The following year she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival with a much-admired Juliette in Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette. She has also sung in many major houses in both Europe and North America. Her compatriot Nino Surguladze has sung a variety of lyric mezzo-soprano roles in such leading opera houses as La Scala, Covent Garden, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has portrayed the title role of Carmen in many European cities and takes her interpretation of the part to San Diego this year.
The production of Rigoletto is by Otto Schenk, with sets and costumes designed by Zack Brown and lighting by Gil Wechsler.
Live Broadcasts Around the World
Rigoletto will be experienced by millions of people around the world this season on the radio and the internet, through distribution platforms the Met has established with various media partners.
The September 29 opening performance of Rigoletto will be broadcast live on Metropolitan Opera Radio on SIRIUS channel 78 and XM channel 79, as will the performances on October 5, January 22, April 26, and May 3.
The performance on October 5 will also be available via RealNetworks internet streaming at the Met’s web site www.metopera.org.
The January 22 matinee at 1:00 p.m. will be broadcast live over the Toll Brothers-Metropolitan Opera International Radio Network.