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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2013
The opera world has been giving a little extra attention to a couple of giants born in 1813, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. Locally, that bicentennial salute has included memorable concerts by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra featuring excerpts from Wagner's mountainous operas. And this week, Lyric Opera Baltimore offers a production of one of Verdi's earliest masterworks for the stage, "Rigoletto. " The "Rigoletto" staging brings tenor Bryan Hymel back to town after his Lyric debut last season, when he made a formidable impression in Gounod's "Faust.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 19, 2013
Lyric Opera Baltimore is wrapping up its comfort-food season with Verdi's stirring drama of love, nastiness and misplaced loyalties, “Rigoletto.” The staging looked a little square and economical Friday night at the Modell Performing Arts Center, but it often sounded splendid; Sunday's matinee ought to be even better. In the two short years since it emerged from the ruins of the longtime Baltimore Opera Company, which folded its tent in 2009, Lyric Opera Baltimore has taken a purposely conservative path, offering standard works in mostly traditional productions.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | October 25, 1999
Verdi's "Rigoletto" is an opera that turns on paradox.Gilda, the heroine, is pure but throws her life away for romantic passion. Her seducer, the Duke of Mantua, is charming but also shallow, brutal and sexually predatory. Rigoletto, Gilda's father, the Duke's hunchbacked court jester and the central figure, is the greatest paradox of all. His spirit can be as ugly as his body is deformed, but he is also capable of great paternal tenderness. In creating such multifaceted examples of the mystery of human personality, Verdi reached a Shakespearean level.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2013
The opera world has been giving a little extra attention to a couple of giants born in 1813, Giuseppe Verdi and Richard Wagner. Locally, that bicentennial salute has included memorable concerts by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra featuring excerpts from Wagner's mountainous operas. And this week, Lyric Opera Baltimore offers a production of one of Verdi's earliest masterworks for the stage, "Rigoletto. " The "Rigoletto" staging brings tenor Bryan Hymel back to town after his Lyric debut last season, when he made a formidable impression in Gounod's "Faust.
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By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 3, 2006
In 1982, the ever-provocative stage director Jonathan Miller famously put Verdi's Rigoletto into a time machine and hit the 1950s button, while turning on an equivalent geography-spinner. As a result, this opera about love, hedonism, physical deformity, paternal devotion and the cruelty of fate in 16th-century Mantua took place in a Mafiosi-milieu of New York's Little Italy. Rigoletto Opera Vivente, 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St. Tickets $22-$42.
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By Phil Greenfield and Phil Greenfield,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | November 2, 2000
"I read with reluctance the librettos that are sent me," wrote Giuseppe Verdi, the great opera composer. "It is impossible, or almost impossible, for someone else to divine what I want." In the case of "Rigoletto," the musical tale of murder, treachery and tragedy to be presented this weekend by the Annapolis Opera, Verdi wanted a script that almost no one else liked. That play was Victor Hugo's "Le roi s'amuse," which opened and closed Nov. 22, 1832, after a single disastrous performance.
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By Stephen Wigler and Stephen Wigler,Sun Music Critic | October 17, 1994
No one -- not even Mozart -- wrote operas more powerfully affecting than Verdi's in their presentation of fully realized human beings.When reasonably well-done, works such as "Rigoletto" strike us with a force similar to that of reading a Tolstoy novel or seeing a Shakespeare play. Human beings live and die before our eyes, and -- because it is art, not life -- we are helpless to intervene.The important thing about any production of "Rigoletto," which the Baltimore Opera Company performed Saturday at the opening of its current season at the Lyric Opera House, is that this tragic music drama must inspire the requisite pity and fear.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun music critic | April 2, 2008
Evil never sounds as good as it does in a Verdi opera. This dark side of human nature gets a particularly tuneful and theatrically gripping workout in Rigoletto, which moves with brutal speed toward a tragic tangle of blind love, vengeance and self-sacrifice. If you go Rigoletto will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and five more times through April 13 at the Kennedy Center, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues Northwest, Washington. Tickets are $45 to $250. Call 800-876-7372 or go to dc-opera.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | November 19, 2002
With Rigoletto, a tale of depravity, deformity, delusion, decency and devotion, Verdi reached a new peak. For all the quality at work in his previous 15 operas, it was Rigoletto that first reflected the full power of the composer's genius. Not even the brilliant works he wrote afterward overshadowed its musical and theatrical virtues. Many of those virtues could be appreciated Saturday night in the Baltimore Opera Company's production at the Lyric; fewer came through on Sunday afternoon with a different set of principal singers.
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By Tim Smith | November 10, 2002
There's bad news and good news from Baltimore Opera as the company prepares to open its production of Verdi's drama-rich Rigoletto this week. The scheduled soprano for the role of Rigoletto's endearingly naive daughter Gilda, Stefania Bonfadelli, had to withdraw for health reasons, but Youngok Shin, the Korean-born singer who starred so memorably in the company's season-opening production of Lakme, will step in for three performances - Saturday, Nov....
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | May 10, 2013
The 2013-2014 opera season at the Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric will have a lot in common with the 2012-2013 season -- staged works by Verdi and Puccini produced by Lyric Opera Baltimore, with a concert in between. There is something substantially more adventurous in terms of repertoire for next season, courtesy of the Peabody Opera Theatre, which will present Poulenc's "Dialogues of the Carmelites. " That masterpiece was last performed at the Lyric in 1984 by the old Baltimore Opera Company.
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By Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun | December 14, 2012
The words "opera" and "emotional" typically go together, but not in the way it will happen this weekend. The risk-taking Baltimore- and New York-based ensemble known as Rhymes With Opera, now in its sixth year, will premiere the complete version of Thomas Limbert's "Numbers/Dates. " It's a work that uses a text based on just that - numbers and dates. The performers supply the emotion. "The piece was born out of a neurobiology class I took at Duke University," Limbert said, "about speech perception and research on 'emotional prosody.' We heard sound samples of actors speaking semantically neutral numbers and dates in different emotions.
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By Mary Johnson, For The Baltimore Sun | September 6, 2012
Annapolis Opera is on fire with excitement about its 40th-anniversary season. That much is evident from its season brochure — the company's best ever — on which a flaming "V" proclaims a celebration of the bicentennial of Giuseppe Verdi's birth. Italy's pre-eminent composer will be honored at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts in Annapolis Opera's productions of two masterworks — a concert version of "Aida" and a fully staged "Rigoletto. " This season also celebrates the 25th annual Vocal Competition, which introduces outstanding young singers from the Mid-Atlantic region who compete for more than $10,000 in total prizes.
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March 7, 2012
Soprano Stacey Mastrian returns to her native Bel Air to present a recital of songs and arias in Italian, French, German, Spanish and English, with pianist Scott Crowne. The concert will be Friday, March 16, at 8 p.m. at the St. Mary Magdalen Mission (of the St. Margaret Parish), 1716 Churchville Road, in Bel Air. The event is free, although donations are welcome. The program's flexible format will allow audience members to choose the order in which the pieces are presented. The repertoire will include traditional classical works for voice and piano as well as songs by modern American composers.
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By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2009
News of Annapolis baritone Jason Stearns' Metropolitan Opera debut gave some Annapolis Opera folks incentive last October to plan a trip to New York City to offer support recently in his role as Monterone in Verdi's Rigoletto. Former Annapolis Opera president Leah Solat coordinated plans and board member David Stern arranged bus transportation and lodging for the group for Stearns' April 1 debut. Stern also arranged for the group to take a 2 1/2 -hour backstage tour of the Met on the same day. Stearns lives in Annapolis with his wife, Suzanne, who also had a singing career and continues to give voice lessons, as does Jason when time allows.
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By Tim Smith and Tim Smith,Sun music critic | April 2, 2008
Evil never sounds as good as it does in a Verdi opera. This dark side of human nature gets a particularly tuneful and theatrically gripping workout in Rigoletto, which moves with brutal speed toward a tragic tangle of blind love, vengeance and self-sacrifice. If you go Rigoletto will be performed at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow and five more times through April 13 at the Kennedy Center, off Virginia and New Hampshire avenues Northwest, Washington. Tickets are $45 to $250. Call 800-876-7372 or go to dc-opera.
NEWS
By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,Special to The Baltimore Sun | April 12, 2009
News of Annapolis baritone Jason Stearns' Metropolitan Opera debut gave some Annapolis Opera folks incentive last October to plan a trip to New York City to offer support recently in his role as Monterone in Verdi's Rigoletto. Former Annapolis Opera president Leah Solat coordinated plans and board member David Stern arranged bus transportation and lodging for the group for Stearns' April 1 debut. Stern also arranged for the group to take a 2 1/2 -hour backstage tour of the Met on the same day. Stearns lives in Annapolis with his wife, Suzanne, who also had a singing career and continues to give voice lessons, as does Jason when time allows.
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By Mike Giuliano and Mike Giuliano,Special to The Sun | October 15, 1994
Dipping into the red sauce repertory for the opening production of its 44th season, Verdi's "Rigoletto," tonight the Baltimore Opera Company brings high-voltage melodrama to the Lyric Opera House.Baritone Mark Rucker, who sings the title role, has become known for his Verdi roles. When he sang the part of Renato in "Un ballo in maschera," in an Opera Company of Philadelphia production starring Luciano Pavarotti, Opera magazine opined:"Here, Rucker sounds like a major addition to the ranks of genuine Verdi baritones."
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By TIM SMITH and TIM SMITH,SUN MUSIC CRITIC | April 3, 2006
In 1982, the ever-provocative stage director Jonathan Miller famously put Verdi's Rigoletto into a time machine and hit the 1950s button, while turning on an equivalent geography-spinner. As a result, this opera about love, hedonism, physical deformity, paternal devotion and the cruelty of fate in 16th-century Mantua took place in a Mafiosi-milieu of New York's Little Italy. Rigoletto Opera Vivente, 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St. Tickets $22-$42.
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By Mary Johnson and Mary Johnson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | July 22, 2005
Jason Stearns didn't take the conventional route to become an opera star, but with his brilliant performance in the Washington-based Summer Opera Theater Company's Rigoletto, the Eastport resident has certainly arrived at that destination. "In my view, Jason is one of the best baritones in the world today and can be ranked with all the greats in the last half of the 20th century," said William Yannuzzi, music director of the Baltimore Opera Company. Said Annapolis Opera Company treasurer Nancy Lindley: "Wherever I go, everybody is talking about Jason Stearns."
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