A new staging by a team of young artists
Patrick Fournillier conducts Verdi’s masterpiece

Teatro Regio, Tuesday 12 April 2011 at 8 pm

With Rigoletto and La traviata by Giuseppe Verdi – on stage respectively from 12 April to 8 May and from 22 April to 7 May – Teatro Regio carries on with its homage to the composer on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. The Regio continues to offer (as they already did last year with Barbiere, Elisir and Bohème) popular operas of guaranteed spectacular effect, so as to combine intelligent repertory theatre with experimental direction.

As everybody knows, for the staging of Rigoletto the Regio has set out on an extremely original and, until now, unbeaten path for an opera company, relying on an international competition for the choice of stage director,  set designer and costume designer for the creation of a new production to become part of the patrimony of the Regio. An initiative that demonstrates the great interest of the Regio in creativity and in finding new solutions in stage direction and new talent. A highly successful idea, as the numbers prove:  520 applicants in 216 groups (from Italy, Europe, Brazil, Korea and the United States) for a total of 165 projects presented, which even clogged the Torino postal service.

The team that won, with its motto «Le Roi s’amuse» – the title of Victor Hugo’s drama on which Rigoletto is based – is made up of Luca Ghirardosi (set designer and coordinator), Fabio Banfo (stage direction and lights) and Valentina Caspani (costume designer), assisted by Claudia Brambilla, Chiara Marchetti and Elena Rossi. They also managed to involve a technical sponsor, the Studio Cromo, for the creation of the sets.

The group of “lucky six” was formed at the Accademia di Brera in Milan, where Luca Ghirardosi, born in 1960, is professor of set design, Valentina Caspani was his student together with Claudia Brambilla, Chiara Marchetti and Elena Rossi, and where Fabio Banfo was called to hold a seminar on theatre direction: all very young, between 20 and 35 years old. Ghirardosi says that he heard about the initiative while listening to Radio3 and had difficulty containing his enthusiasm: «it was an occasion as tempting as it was rare: to give young people such an opportunity is not common practice in this country». The sets are made up of six large doors that are transformed, one after another, into wardrobes and chests, and which rotate to reveal cutaway views and perspectives (in the spirit of the libretto, where disguises and misunderstandings reign). «After having examined the text of the libretto» adds Banfo «the strong theme we decided to work on was power and its degeneration – very contemporary...Other cardinal points are: the relationships between father and daughter (Rigoletto and Gilda), and tyrant and jester». For the costumes, explains Caspani, «we wanted to give an idea of decay, with used clothing, old and almost timeless; we thought of certain old people and their clothes of thick wool, the perfect material for evoking the chill emanating from that place of death».

For this Rigoletto, the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio will be conducted by maestro Patrick Fournillier, who returns to the Regio after Carmen in 2006. Alternating on the podium will be Ramon Tebar for the performances on 13, 19, 21 and 23 April. In the title role, baritone Franco Vassallo; Gilda is the Moldavian soprano Irina Lungu and tenor Gianluca Terranova is the Duke of Mantua. Completing the cast are: bass Andrea Papi (Sparafucile), mezzo-soprano Laura Brioli (Maddalena), mezzo-soprano Letizia Del Magro (Giovanna), baritone Ziyan Atfeh (Monterone), baritone Marco Camastra (Marullo), tenor Antonio Feltracco (Matteo Borsa) and bass Francesco Musinu (Ceprano). Chorus Master is Claudio Fenoglio. During the run of  12 performances  Damiano Salerno (Rigoletto), Barbara Bargnesi (Gilda), Ivan Magrì (Il Duca) and Claudia Marchi (Maddalena) will be alternating in the title roles
This Rigoletto, then, is in many respects a challenge, and is also a challenge for conductor Patrick Fournillier, who in addition to Rigoletto will be engaged in conducting Traviata: «some say that in these operas, concealed behind the reassuring forms of the repertoire, there is the danger of routine. I believe that it’s enough to rely on the emotion of the music to recapture vitality and effectiveness. If one appealed only to reason, there would be something to fear: conducting this Verdi, in fact, is a little like challenging the myth».

IREN Spa is the Partner of the Teatro Regio for this new production.
Rigoletto will be presented to the public by Susanna Franchi in Incontro con l’Opera to take place at Piccolo Regio Puccini on Wednesday 30 March at 5.30 pm and will be broadcast live on Rai-Radio3 Tuesday 12 April at 8 pm.

For information and ticket sales, the Box Office, piazza Castello 215 - Tel. 011.8815.241/242 - biglietteria@teatroregio.torino.it. Ulteriori info: tel. 011.8815.557 e www.teatroregio.torino.it.

Torino, 30 March 2011