Michael Mayer's Rigoletto, Set in 1960's Vegas, Debuts at The Met Jan. 28

By Adam Hetrick
January 28, 2013

Tony Award-winning director Michael Mayer's Las Vegas-set production of Verdi's Rigoletto debuts Jan. 28 at The Metropolitan Opera. The staging reunites Mayer with his Tony-winning American Idiot scenic designer, Christine Jones.



Audiences, according to The Met, will be transported "from a decadent 16th-century Italian court to the glitzy, depraved setting of the Las Vegas strip circa 1960" in the new production that will also be broadcast as part of The Met: Live in HD series on Feb. 16.

Michele Mariotti conducts a company that features Piotr Beczala as the Duke, reconceived as an amoral lounge singer whose entourage includes the world-weary comedian Rigoletto, sung by Željko Lučić. The cast also includes Diana Damrau as Gilda, Štefan Kocán as Sparafucile and Oksana Volkova as Maddalena.

The Rigoletto creative team also includes Tony-winning Broadway costume designer Susan Hilferty (Wicked, Spring Awakening, The Road to Mecca and 2002's Into the Woods) and Tony-winning lighting designer Kevin Adams (Spring Awakening, American Idiot, The 39 Steps). Choreographer Steven Hoggett (Once, American Idiot, Black Watch) is also on the team.

Beginning April 13, a second cast will take over the principal roles. That company will feature Vittorio Grigolo as the Duke, Lisette Oropesaas as Gilda, George Gagnidze in the title role, Nancy Fabiola Herrera as Maddalena and Enrico Giuseppe Iori as Sparafucile.

Mayer's credits include Spring Awakening, Triumph of Love, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Everyday Rapture, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, 'Night Mother, After the Fall, An Almost Holy Picture, Uncle Vanya, The Lion in Winter, Side Man and A View From the Bridge.

The Met states that Mayer utilizes 1960's Las Vegas as a setting to "hold the universal story of this great masterpiece…a very licentious world where there is an obsession with money and power and sex—where pranks and a kind of trickster energy could go bad. There is this fascination we have with Vegas as this place to escape the responsibilities of our daily lives. It is designed for pleasure; you’re not obliged to take any accountability for your actions when you're there. But there are often consequences to actions that get out of hand. And I think that this opera really speaks to the danger and the potential tragedy inside that kind of irresponsibility."

Read the The Met Playbill interview with director Mayer

Visit MetOpera.org.