The Metropolitan Opera, in an effort to attract a newer, younger audience, has revamped many of its productions during the past 10 years. Engaging the best and brightest directors and production teams from Broadway and from Europes leading opera houses, the Met has transformed itself into a great music theater and, as a result, has enjoyed increased ticket sales as an added benefit.
The teams brought in to transform and to revise the great operatic repertoire presented at the Met have largely succeeded, giving its opera-going audience works of great beauty (the most recent Madama Butterfly), monumental scale (Wagners Der Ring des Nibulungen), and Sher brilliance and joy (Il barbiere di Siviglia and Le comte Ory).
In its latest offering, the timeless and exhilarating opera Rigoletto receives the Vegas treatment at the hands of director Michael Mayer.
Set in early 1960s Rat Pack era Las Vegas, Meyers production features a stellar cast of performers. Lyric coloratura soprano Diana Damrau leads the cast as the doomed Gilda, zealously protected daughter of Rigoletto, here touchingly sung by baritone Zeljko Lucic portraying the Dukes comic sidekick. The Duke of Mantua (or is it chairman of the board?) is sung by lyric tenor Piotr Beczala.
The story really starts to roll when Monterone, an Arab shiek intent on buying property in Las Vegas (did you ever wonder why the great Las Vegas hotels of yesteryear had names like the Sands, the Dunes, the Mirage and the Sahara?) bursts onto the scene, accusing the Duke of seducing his daughter. Ridiculed by Rigoletto, Monterone hurls a curse at the comic, and as the story unfolds, the curse becomes Rigolettos nightmarish reality. Giuseppe Verdis timeless score features some really great tunes, which the hip cats of the Mets Las Vegas deliver with sheer force, brilliance, tenderness and unstinting beauty. Rigoletto is a must see for any lover of opera.
Met Live in HD Broadcast of Rigoletto
When: 12:55 p.m. Saturday, opera chat begins at 12:30 p.m.
Where: Douglass Theatre, 355 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Cost: $24 adults, $20 seniors and students