Monday, July 29, 2013


          The Duke (Alox Kumar), Gilda (Amanda Hall) and Rigoletto (Galen Scott Bower)
Giuseppe Verdi's grand opera "Rigoletto" was almost stopped in its tracks by Austrian censors who wanted to forbid its production.  Verdi began the work in 1850 and initially it was going to depict a French king as a womanizer and immoral character.  It was only when Verdi reworked the plot to revolve around a Duke instead of the King that he was able to avoid the ban.  Aware of the risks he was taking, it is said he kept the score a secret and swore the performers to silence, forbidding them to sing or even whistle the now famous tunes.

Don't worry today.  "Rigoletto" is now the tenth most performed opera worldwide, according to Operabase and Opera Theatre of Connecticut is ready and eager to share it with you on Tuesday, August 6 at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, August 8 and Saturday, August 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a final performance Sunday, August 11 at 6 p.m.

The tragic story centers on an evil Duke of Mantua, his court jester Rigoletto who suffers from a humped back and Rigoletto's lovely daughter Gilda.  The story focuses on a curse placed on both men for their willing roles in an innocent girl being seduced by the Duke, with the instigation and encouragement of Rigoletto.  The girl's father, a courtier, enacts the curse as a punishment for his naive daughter's betrayal.  When Gilda unwisely falls under the spell of the Duke, she sacrifices her own life when a plot is raised to kill him.  The ultimate tragedy is that it is her father Rigoletto who hires the assassins that take his precious daughter away forever.

Despite problems with the censors, Verdi's opera was a masterpiece, one you have the privilege to enjoy in air-conditioned comfort at Andrews Memorial Theater, 54 East Main Street, Clinton.  For tickets ($45, seniors $40, children $35), call Opera Theatre of Connecticut at 860-669-8999 or online at  Artistic Director Alan Mann will provide an informative Opera Talk ($5) one hour and a half before the opera and as usual, boxed suppers al fresco style can be ordered from Chips Pub III for $15 and need to be reserved 48 hours in advance when ordering your tickets.

"Rigoletto" will be performed in Italian with projected supertitles in English, in celebration of the bicentennial of Verdi's birth.  Under the leadership of Kate Ford, General Director, Alan Mann, Artistic Director and Kyle Swann, Musical Director, this dramatic and emotion filled opera will astound with its powerful story.

Metropolitan Opera star Galen Scott Bower will tackle the demanding role as the tormented court jester Rigoletto who inadvertently puts his own child in harm's way.  New York City Opera singer Amanda Hall will stir your heart as the lovely daughter Gilda whose innocence is betrayed by the Duke of Mantua, a role captured in all its menace by international singing sensation Alok Kumar.

The role of the assassin Sparafucile will be played by Metropolitan Opera Council Auditions National Finalist and Connecticut native Nicholas Masters, the sultry temptress Maddalena will be portrayed by Jennifer Feinstein, a National Opera Association Finalist, while Alexander Hahn as the powerful nobleman Monterone has the distinction of being the catalyst for sending the tragedy spiraling by setting a curse.  The roles of the courtiers Borsa, Marullo and Ceprano will be played by Christopher Lucier, Luke Scott and Laurentiu Rotaru while soprano Theresa Pilz will appear as the Duke's latest paramour, the Countess Ceprano.

According to Kate Ford, General Director, and Alan Mann, Artistic Director, "This is our first performance in the newly renovated Andrews Memorial Theater in the Clinton Town Hall.  Our audience will be thrilled by the spectacular voices that we have assembled for this production as well as the comfortable and roomier seating in which to enjoy the beautiful music of Verdi.  The production will be set traditionally in the 1600's, complete with sumptuous costuming and sets so that the audience can really appreciate Verdi's original intent."

Let Opera Theatre of Connecticut sweep you back in time to another age where the  incredible music will create a memorable evening you will long treasure.

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