Christopher Cook is at the Wales Millennium Centre for the much-anticipated debut of baritone Simon Keenlyside in the title role of Verdi's famously controversial tragedy. Welsh National Opera's revived production brings together director James McDonald and designer Robert Innes Hopkins to transport Verdi's Mantua to the Washington of the Kennedy era. It's a chance for the famously physical Keenleyside to recreate his court jester Rigoletto role as presidential aide, swimming in a pool of corruption, bullying and grotesque indulgence. Also featured are the American soprano Sarah Coburn making her UK debut, and a return to WNO by a much loved Welsh singer, tenor Gwyn Hughes Jones, in the role of the philandering and murderous Duke.
Also in the presenter's box is Welsh bass and close friend of Simon Keenlyside, Gwynne Howell, who made his operatic debut in Verdi's opera. And before the final act there's a chance to explore the magical process of bringing the Oval Office into the opera house, as Christopher Cook meets the skilled draftsmen, carpenters and painters who convert a designer's vision into on-stage reality.
More information about the production, including photographs, a synopsis and an interview with designer Robert Innes Hopkins are available below.
Rigoletto ..... Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
The Duke ..... Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor)
Gilda ..... Sarah Coburn (soprano)
Monterone ..... Michael Druiett (baritone)
Sparafucile ..... David Soar (bass)
Maddalena ..... Leah-Marian Jones (mezzo-soprano)
Chorus and Orchestra of Welsh National Opera
Pablo Heras-Casado ..... Conductor.