Gustavo Dudamel leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl in a concert performance of Verdi's great operatic tragedy, Rigoletto. Baritone Željko Lui, in his signature role as the hunchbacked court jester doomed by a sinister curse, heads an international cast of notable soloists in the following roles:
David Lomelí, Duke of Mantua
Irina Lungu, Gilda
Alexander Tsymbalyuk, Sparafucile
Nancy Fabiola Herrera, Maddalena
Ryan McKinny, Count Monterone
Irene Roberts, Giovanna
Craig Verm, Marullo
Matthew Plenk, Borsa
Adam Cioffari, il Conte di Ceprano
Maya Lahyani, La Contessa di Ceprano
Diana Newman, Paggio
Keith Colclough, Usher
In what is becoming an annual summer tradition, Gustavo Dudamel continues to share his passion for opera with this special, one-night-only performance of Verdi's Rigoletto at the Hollywood Bowl. In his 2010 inaugural season at the Hollywood Bowl, Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic gave a concert performance of Bizet's Carmen; in 2011 they performed Puccini's Turandot.
Few composers' names conjure up the grand scale of opera more than that of Giuseppe Verdi. The intensity of the characters, the powerful impact of the drama, and the lyrical qualities of his music are the stuff of opera legend. Rigoletto was the first opera of Verdi's middle period, consolidating all of the structural and dramatic advances of his early efforts and breaking new ground in musical characterization. Verdi himself said that Rigoletto was revolutionary.
Verdi asked Francesco Maria Piave, the resident poet at La Fenice and the librettist of five of his earlier operas, to adapt Victor Hugo's play Le roi s'amuse. They knew that this tale of a womanizing king (François I of France) and his cynical jester would give them troubles with the government censors, and it did. (Productions of the play, then nearly 20 years old, had been banned in France for many years.) Austria controlled Venice (and much of northern Italy) at the time, and its censor emphatically forbade production of the new opera, citing its "repugnant immorality and obscene triviality."
Verdi did not back down, however, and contested every point with the censor. Eventually a compromise was reached, in which the King of France became the Duke of Mantua, a duchy that no longer existed. With a few small plot changes, Rigoletto went ahead to its very successful premiere on March 11, 1851.
For program details, visit www.hollywoodbowl.com/rigoletto.
LOS ANGELES PHILHARMONIC and GUSTAVO DUDAMEL, conductor present Rigoletto, with the MEN of the LOS ANGELES MASTER CHORALE and GRANT GERSHON, Music Director, TONIGHT, AUGUST 12 at 7:30 p.m. The HOLLYWOOD BOWL is located at 2301 N Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, Calif.
Tickets for the Hollywood Bowl 2012 summer season are available now at HollywoodBowl.com or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. For more information, call 323.850.2000.
Photo courtesy The Hollywood Bowl's website.