April 5, 2018

Press Release: Portland Opera presents Verdi’s Rigoletto

Portland Opera is pleased to present a traditional production of Verdi’s Rigoletto to the Portland community this spring. A staple of the operatic repertory, Rigoletto tells the story of the court jester who amuses the philandering and immoral Duke of Mantua. A doting and protective father to his beloved Gilda, Rigoletto’s life changes forever when his mockery goes too far and results in a fateful curse. Verdi brings this powerful story to life with passionate music, including the famous audience favorite “La donna è mobile.” Portland Opera will present four performances of Rigoletto on May 4, 6 (matinee), 10, and 12th at the Keller Auditorium.

Rigoletto is remarkable not only for the beauty and power of the music, but the also the vivid characterizations and compact dramatic pacing,” says Mattaliano. “It will be a riveting experience of opera, and we’re pleased to start our season with grand opera at its finest.”

Portland Opera Music Director George Manahan leads a cast that stars American baritone Stephen Powell, who returns to the Portland Opera stage as Rigoletto, and Metropolitan Opera tenor Barry Banks as the Duke. Soprano and former Portland Opera Resident Artist Katrina Galka makes her role debut as Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, and Scott Conner makes his Portland Opera debut as Sparafucile. Hannah Penn returns to the company in the role of Maddalena.

This cast also includes the Portland Opera Resident Artists in featured roles: Helen Huang as Countess Ceprano, Kate Farrar as Giovanna, Thomas Cilluffo as Matteo Borsa, and Shi Li as Count Ceprano. The May 4th performance will mark the Portland Opera debuts of Reginald Smith, Jr. as Count Monterone, and Zachary Lenox as Marullo.

Verdi’s Rigoletto is sponsored by Curtis T. Thompson, MD and Associates and Elk Cove Vineyards. Portland Opera appreciates the ongoing support of funders including The Collins Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, Oregon Arts Commission, Work for Art, the James F. and

Marion L. Miller Foundation, and The Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Arts Education & Access Fund.

Fun Facts

Portland Opera performed Rigoletto for the first time in 1968 and has since programmed the opera in 1974, 1981, 1990, 1998, and 2009.

The libretto for Rigoletto, written by Francesco Maria Piave, is based on Victor Hugo’s 1832 play, Le Roi s’amuse. The opera was originally called La Maledizione (The curse), but the first version of the piece was not approved by the Austrian censors. Revisions were made, the title was changed, and the opera premiered at the Teatro Fenice on March 11, 1851.

Rigoletto is one of the highlights of Verdi’s “middle period,” along with Il Trovatore and La Traviata, which Portland Opera has recently announced will launch the 2018/19 season in November 2018.

Tickets and Information

Performances take place at 7:30PM at the Keller Auditorium, with the exception of the matinee on May 6th, which begins at 2:00 PM. One hour prior to each performance, audience members are invited to an informal introduction to the opera on the first balcony of the Keller Auditorium.

Rigoletto will be sung in Italian with projected English translations.

Portland Opera is a proud participant in Arts for All—providing $5 tickets for Oregon Trail Card holders.

A limited number of rush tickets (for seniors, students, and United States Armed Forces personnel and their families) are available for performances of Rigoletto. Student rush tickets are available online on the Monday before the performances. Call 503-241-1802 for more information.

The performance on May 6 at 2pm will include an audio description of the visual and physical events on stage for patrons who are blind or have low vision. For patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing, each performance is visually translated with English text projected above the stage.

Tickets for Rigoletto are now available, starting at $35. For more information, and to purchase tickets visit PortlandOpera.org or call Patron Services at 503-241-1802. For more information, patrons may also contact the Opera Concierge at concierge@portlandopera.org.

Principal Artist Profiles

Baritone Stephen Powell made his Portland Opera debut as Giorgio Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata. He has previously sung the role of Rigoletto with Lyric Opera of Baltimore, the Caramoor Festival, and the Cincinnatti Opera, and he will sing the role with the San Diego Opera next season. Recently, Powell has also been seen singing the roles of Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca with the Minnesota Opera, Germont in La Traviata with the Seattle Opera and San Diego Opera, and the Count in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with Michigan Opera Theatre.

Soprano Katrina Galka returns to the Portland Opera stage, making her role debut as Gilda. Katrina made her debut with Portland Opera in 2014 as a member of the Resident Artist Program and has sung numerous roles with the company, including Adina in L’Elisir d’Amore, Johanna in Sweeney Todd, Papagena in Die Zauberflöte and Ida in Die Fledermaus. This season, she has also performed the roles of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Woglinde in Das Rheingold and Cunegone in Candide with Arizona Opera.

Tenor Barry Banks makes his Portland Opera debut as the Duke, a role he has also sung with the English National Opera and Hawaii Opera Theatre. Recent roles include The Astrologer in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel with the Santa Fe Opera and Teatro Royal de Madrid, and Flute in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Metropolitan Opera.

Full casting can be found below, and additional biographies are available upon request.

Rigoletto Cast and Creative Team

Barry Banks as The Duke of Mantua
Thomas Cilluffo as Matteo Borsa, a courtier and henchman of the Duke
Helen Huang as Countess Ceprano
Stephen Powell as Rigoletto, the court jester and a hunchback
Zachary Lenox, Marullo, a courtier and henchman of the Duke
Shi Li as Count Ceprano
Reginald Smith, Jr. as Count Monterone
Scott Conner as Sparafucile, an assassin
Katrina Galka as Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter
Kate Farrar as Giovanna, Gilda’s attendant
Aline Bahamondez as a Page
Erik Hundtoft as an Usher
Hannah S. Penn as Maddalena, Sparafucile’s sister

Conductor, George Manahan
Stage Director, Christopher Mattaliano
Lighting Designer, Don Darnutzer
Chorus Master, Nicholas Fox
Principal Accompanist, Mario Antonio Marra
Production Stage Manager, Jon Wangsgard
Assistant Director, Audrey Chait

About Portland Opera

Portland Opera exists to inspire, challenge, and uplift its audiences by creating productions of high artistic quality and is proud to be a part of the region’s thriving artistic and business community. We celebrate the beauty and breadth of the opera repertoire with four main stage performances each season. Our 2018 main stage opera season includes Verdi’s Rigoletto, Gounod’s Faust, Rossini’s La Cenerentola, and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice. The company is also a committed educational partner, touring fully staged operas to schools and community centers throughout Oregon and SW Washington region each year, in addition to a host of other efforts designed to make opera accessible for all.


Media Contact:

Silja Tobin, Marketing & Communications Manager Portland Opera