Working on Verdi’s Rigoletto is always a pleasure (this is the second time I’ve been lucky enough to direct it). There is a reason it has stood the test of time – it’s a masterpiece. But this season it is a particular pleasure to be involved in it on a couple of fronts.
First, having just produced a new work, Elmer Gantry, I am struck by how “new” Verdi feels now. With a new work, your senses of discovery are re-engaged, and that heightened awareness has carried over into working on Verdi’s great work. It’s almost possible to feel the thrill that those involved with the premiere in Venice must have felt!
That sense of discovery has been heightened by working with Noele Stollmack on her scenic and lighting design, and Christianne Myers on her costume design. The three of us had a great time working together on last year’s The Magic Flute, and Noele and Christianne bring incredible creative talent to their tasks, while respecting the source material.
We have a wonderful cast, and of course, Joe Rescigno leading the musical forces, including the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. While many involved have experienced this piece before, Georgia Jarman is essaying her first Gilda, and it has been a pleasure exploring this character with such a committed, talented, singing actress.
So, if you are coming to see Rigoletto next weekend (and I hope all of you reading this are!!!), whether this is your first time for this opera or your fiftieth, join me in imagining you are in 1850′s Venice, Italy, meeting this great work for the first time. You will learn again why Verdi’s jester is worth visiting again.