Painted Sky Opera will open its third season with “Rigoletto.”
The master work by Giuseppe Verdi will unfold at 7:30 p.m. on Friday Sept. 14 and again on Friday, Sept. 21 – and with a special matinee performance at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept 16 in the Freede Little Theatre at Civic Center Music Hall.
Composed by operatic master Giuseppe Verdi, ”Rigoletto” is well-known by operatic audiences for vivid characters and a plot reminiscent of Shakespeare. Further, it is universally known for its familiar operatic melodies which are frequently featured in movies, radio, and on television.
The opera tells the story of Rigoletto, a court jester who is favored by his womanizing master, the Duke, and reviled by the powerful people whom he mocks. When Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda falls in love with the Duke, Rigoletto must decide how he can protect her from the Duke’s attentions and keep her from the world of deadly intrigue that he navigates each day.
The production marks the return of tenor J. Warren Mitchell to the stage of the Freede Little Theatre. Last seen in Painted Sky Opera’s production of “Tosca” in October 2017, Mitchell is an alumnus of Oklahoma City University and a two-time award winner of Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg International Opera Competition in Germany. Mitchell plays the role of the Duke, which he sees as one of the career-defining roles for an opera singer and which he is performing for the first time.
“I devoted myself to refining my technique so that I could one day sing this role, as many of my opera tenor idols have sung in theaters all over the world,” said Mitchell. “To further my motivation, I had a personalized license plate made that read ’Il Duca.’ In this way, I would…keep working to conquer one of the first steps on the way up the Mount Everest of the lyric tenor repertoire.”
Painted Sky Opera’s production also features baritone Daniel Scofield as Rigoletto and soprano Jessica Jones as his daughter Gilda. Both have performed their respective roles previously to great acclaim, with Scofield’s performance of Rigoletto called “the finest court jester I’ve seen in years” by the Houston Press.
In conjunction with this production, Painted Sky Opera will also present two sold-out performances for elementary students of the “greatest hits” from Rigoletto on September 18 which will introduce more than 500 students to opera complete with costumes, sets, and orchestra. The performances are made possible by a grant from Kirkpatrick Family Fund and support Painted Sky Opera’s mission of opera education in central Oklahoma.
“Everyone at Painted Sky Opera is passionate about arts education,” says Rob Glaubitz, artistic director of Painted Sky Opera. “We want to connect students with opera because we know from personal experience how those connections with the arts can spark a child to greater achievement and success in life.”
“Rigoletto” will be performed with orchestra in Italian with English supertitles. Rob Glaubitz directs the show for the stage with music direction by Jan McDaniel. Tickets start at $35 for adults, with discounts for students, military, and seniors available in-person at the box office. Purchase advance tickets online at www.paintedskyopera.org or by visiting or calling the Civic Center box office at 405-594-8300. For more information about “Rigoletto” or Painted Sky Opera’s 2018-19 season, go to www.paintedskyopera.org.
This project was supported in part by the Oklahoma Arts Council, which receives support from the State of Oklahoma and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Oklahoma Arts Council is the official state agency for the support and development of the arts. The agency’s mission is to lead in the advancement of Oklahoma’s thriving arts industry.
The Oklahoma Arts Council provides approximately 500 grants to almost 250 organizations in communities statewide each year, organizes professional development opportunities for the state’s arts and cultural industry, and manages hundreds of works of art in the public spaces of the state Capitol. Additional information is available at arts.ok.gov.