In March, audiences around the world will be able to watch the Royal Opera House’s (ROH) new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto (1851), with a performance recorded in September 2021 set to be broadcast to 779 cinemas, the Covent Garden-based opera house has announced.
The initial screening takes place on 10 March at 7.15pm UK time, with an encore performance at 2pm on 13 March.
Verdi’s tragic masterpiece features an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the 1832 play Le roi s’amuse by Victor Hugo, author of the novels Les Misérables and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
The plot revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto and Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda, who fall foul of a curse put on them by the elderly Count Monterone, exacting his revenge for the Duke seducing his daughter. This new interpretation pitches the opera as a modern morality play that pits power against innocence and beauty against ugliness, in a pitiless world of luxurious decadence, corruption and social decay.
The production opened ROH’s 2021-22 season on 13 September 2021 – 170 years after the opera premiered at La Fenice in Venice. It is directed by Oliver Mears – his first since becoming director of the Royal Opera in 2017. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House comes under the baton of Antonio Pappano, the Royal Opera’s music director. Rigoletto stars Spanish baritone Carlos Álvarez in the title role, Cuban-American soprano Lisette Oropesa as Gilda and Armenian tenor Liparit Avetisyan as the Duke of Mantua.
Mears commented: “It was hugely exciting to work with Antonio Pappano and to open the Royal Opera House’s 2021-22 season – its first full season since 2019 – with a brand-new production of Rigoletto. Verdi’s opera has remained a firm favourite since its triumphant premiere in 1851, and it is a real pleasure to be able to share it, in full splendour, with audiences beyond Covent Garden and across the world this year.”
The opera lasts approximately 3 hours and 5 minutes with one interval. The broadcast also features exclusive behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and rehearsal insights. See the ROH Cinema website to find a screening near you and book tickets.
The ROH Cinema programme launched in 2008, with the aim of bringing world-class opera and ballet to audiences around the world. This year, six major works from the Royal Opera’s and the Royal Ballet’s 2021-22 seasons are being broadcast to cinemas.
Still to come this year are a revival of Richard Eyre’s celebrated La traviata (The Fallen Woman, Verdi, 1853) from the Royal Opera, to be screened live on 13 April 2022, with encores from 17 April 2022, and the Royal Ballet’s production of Swan Lake, screened live on 19 May 2022, with encore screenings from 22 May 2022.
The Royal Opera House said in a statement: “The programme forms an integral part of our plan to secure our future, expand audiences and help facilitate the vital recovery of cinema domestically and internationally.”
Carlos Álvarez as the hunch-backed jester Rigoletto and Lisette Oropesa as his daughter Gilda in the Royal Opera House’s production of Verdi’s tragic masterpiece Rigoletto. The production will be broadcast to cinemas around the world on 10 March (Ellie Kurttz).