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The Sunday Opera: Giuseppe Verdi's "Rigoletto" from the Lyric Opera of Chicago

The tragic tale of a headstrong child and an overprotective father who angers the wrong people is the subject of this week’s Sunday Opera (7/5 3:00 p.m.) in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Verdi’s “Rigoletto.”  Based on Victor Hugo’s tragic play “Le roi s’amuse” (“The King’s Amusement”), the libretto focuses on the Duke of Mantua’s (Matthew Polenzani) jester, Rigoletto (Quinn Kelsey), who angers the men of the Duke’s court by mocking the husbands of the women the lascivious Duke is bedding.  He even goes so far as to mock Count Monterone (Todd Thomas) who has come to the court to avenge his daughter who has been ruined by the Duke, a fate that awaits Rigoletto himself when his daughter Gilda (Rosa Feola) disobeys him and falls into the clutches of the ruinous duke with tragic consequences.  

Also featured in this cast are Alexander Tsymbalyuk as the hired assassin Sparafucile and Zanda Svede as his treacherous sister, Maddalena.   The Lyric Opera of Chicago Orchestra and Chorus are conducted by Marco Armiliato.  

The rest of the afternoon will be filled with the music of Verdi as host Michael Kownacky continues with a familiar work delivered in an unfamiliar package in an excerpt from a German language recording of “La forza del destino” starring the sadly overlooked American soprano Grace Bumbry who is joined by Nicolai Gedda, Hermann Prey, Gottlob Frick, and Helga Dernesh.  The remaining time will be filled with “The Four Seasons,” the delightful ballet from the third act of Verdi’s “I vespri siciliaini.”

Michael is program host and host of the WWFM Sunday Opera, Sundays at 3 pm, and co-host of The Dress Circle, Sundays at 7 pm.