Live at the Met season features Rigoletto at Opera House

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House continues the 2012-13 season of Live at the Met high definition opera broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera with Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto, on Saturday at 1 p.m.

“To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Verdi, this year’s Met season features several of the master composer’s operas,” said Opera House Executive Director Rick Davis. “This week’s offering, Rigoletto, is a unique new Met production staged by Tony Award-winning Director Michael Mayer.”

Director Mayer makes his Met debut with this new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto. The new staging moves the opera’s tragic events from a decadent 16th-century Italian court to the glitzy, depraved setting of the Las Vegas strip circa 1960. Polish tenor Piotr Beczala sings the Duke, an amoral lounge singer whose entourage includes the world-weary comedian Rigoletto, sung by Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic.

German soprano Diana Damrau sings the role of the innocent Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter and the victim of the predatory Duke. Slovakian bass Stefan Koc’n sings the assassin-for-hire Sparafucile and Belarusian mezzo-soprano Oksana Volkova makes her Met debut as his seductive sister, Maddalena. Italian conductor Michele Mariotti conducts his first company performances of the Verdi masterwork, which features one of the most famous arias in all of opera, “La donna e mobile.”

“Rigoletto hits the jackpot,” says the Associated Press, while the Wall Street Journal raves, “as the Duke, Piotr Beczala displays a big, beautiful tenor with great presence. Mayer’s production gives a contemporary immediacy to this tale of how power and vice corrupt everything around them the strong cast of principals carries out the concept with gusto.”

The production lasts approximately three hours, notes Davis. “There are two intermissions,” he adds, “during which snacks and beverages will be available for purchase on the second floor of Village Hall.” No food or beverage is allowed inside the theatre.

Live at the Met opera broadcasts are made possible by Dr. James M. and Marcia Merrins, who funded the purchase of the satellite transmission and projection equipment used in the series. Additional support comes from Bob and Shirley Coon, Bob and Susan Dilks, Steve and Mary Rees and DFT Communications.

Tickets to Rigoletto are $20 ($18 for Opera House and Met members, $15 for students) and are available in advance by calling or visiting the Box Office at 679-1891 Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. They also may be purchased online anytime at The Opera House also is offering a new flexible opera subscription consisting of nine tickets that can be used however the patron wants – one at a time to nine different operas, all at once for nine people, or anything in between. The flexible opera subscription is $161.

Chautauqua County’s only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit