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Opera Holland Park: Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi
May 30 @ 6:00 pm - June 24 @ 9:00 pm
British/New-Zealand mezzo-soprano Joanna Harries will star in Opera Holland Park’s forthcoming production of Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. Joanna, who will play Countess Ceprano, was a 2021/22 Young Artist at the National Opera Studio, London, performing with the orchestras of English National Opera, Welsh National Opera, Opera North and Scottish Opera.
She will be joined on stage by New Zealand-born Samoan baritone, Benson Wilson, who will play Count Ceprano, husband of Countess Ceprano.
Rigoletto is widely considered to be the first of the operatic masterpieces of Verdi’s middle-to-late career. Its tragic story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda. The opera’s original title, La maledizione (The Curse), refers to a curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter the Duke has seduced with Rigoletto’s encouragement. The curse comes to fruition when Gilda falls in love with the Duke and sacrifices her life to save him from the assassin hired by her father.
It is a propulsive tragedy of toxic masculinity and unfettered power that unfolds at breakneck speed. A brilliant score contrasts carefree songs of seduction (‘La donna è mobile’) with a gathering storm of natural and human malevolence.