Giuseppe Verdi 1813-1901
Commedia lirica in three acts
Libretto by Arrigo Boito based on Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor (1597) and King Henry IV (1597)
first performed February 9th 1893, Teatro alla Scala, Milan
Sung in Italian with German surtitles, c. 2hrs 45 mins, including one interval
Friday 23; Thursday 29.
Sunday 02; Friday 07; Sunday 09; Saturday 15.
Conductor Julia Jones
Director Keith Warner
Revival rehearsed by Dorothea Kirschbaum
Stage Designer Boris Kudlička
Costume Designer Kaspar Glarner
Lighting Designer Davy Cunningham
Chorus Master Markus Ehmann
Dramaturge Norbert Abels
Sir John Falstaff Željko Lučić
Ford James Rutherford
Fenton Martin Mitterrutzner
Nannetta, Elizabeth Reiter/Kateryna Kasper
Alice Ford Jessica Strong
Meg Page Paula Murrihy / Claudia Mahnke
Mrs Quickly Anna Larsson
Dr Cajus Hans-Jürgen Schöpflin
Bardolfo, Falstaff’s servant Ralf Simon
Pistola, Falstaff’s servant Barnaby Rea
It is hard to believe: with his 28th, and last opera, 80 year old Verdi reinvented himself again. Leaving all 19th century Italian operatic conventions behind, he had fun with them and quotes from his own works and some of his antipode, Richard Wagner. Seven years earlier Verdi had allowed himself to be seduced by Arrigo Boito into composing another opera based on Shakespeare – Otello. Keith Warner directed the work with light hand in a versatile stage design based on the Globe Theatre on the banks of the Thames. In the end the fat knight Sir John, who was made to look a fool to pay him back for trying to court two married ladies in the hope of getting himself out of a tight financial corner, starts off the closing fugue: »Everything in the world is a joke.«
Željko Lučić, a native of Serbia, continues to garner acclaim for his performances of the dramatic baritone repertoire in the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, San Francisco Opera, and L’Opéra National de Paris. For his appearance in La forza del destino with San Francisco Opera, the Financial Times declared, “with this Don Carlo, Željko Lučić served notice that he is one of today’s pre-eminent Verdi baritones.” In the 2015-16 season Lyric Opera of Chicago audiences will hear him in the title role of Nabucco, and he returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Scarpia in Tosca, Iago in Otello (also HD broadcast) and the title role of Rigoletto. In summer 2015 he sang Scarpia at Teatro alla Scala.
In season 2014-15 he reprised the title role of Macbeth and sang Amonasro in Aida at the Met; reprised the role of Gérard in David McVicar’s new production of Andrea Chénier at the Royal Opera House, broadcast cinematically worldwide; and stepped into the title role of Nabucco with Wiener Staatsoper. His 2013-14 season engagements included Germont in La traviata with Diana Damrau, also Amonasro in Aida in returns to Teatro alla Scala; and his return to the Metropolitan Opera as Gerard in Giordano’s Andrea Chénier. Other European engagements included Scarpia in Tosca and the title role in Nabucco with Wiener Staatsoper; Iago in Otello with Opernhaus Zurich; the title role in Falstaff with Stadtische Bühnen Frankfurt; the title role in Simon Boccanegra with Semperoper Dresden; and Scarpia with Bayerische Staatsoper. In 2012-13 he sang the title role in Rigoletto for the Metropolitan Opera’s new production, for San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Teatro all Scala, title roles in Simon Boccanegra and Macbeth in returns to Bayerische Staatsoper, and Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera in a return to Teatro alla Scala.
Recent successes include Rigoletto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under Gustavo Dudamel, his return to the Metropolitan Opera in the title role of Nabucco; to Stadtische Bühnen Frankfurt as Scarpia in Tosca and Iago in Otello; to Opéra de Paris in the title role of Rigoletto, also to Oper Köln in the same role; to Bayerische Staatsoper (Munich) as Miller in Luisa Miller; to Wiener Staatsoper as Germont in La traviata and Scarpia in Tosca; and making his Salzburger Festspiele debut in the title role of Macbeth in a new production directed by Peter Stein, conducted by Riccardo Muti. After his monumental success as the title role in the Metropolitan Opera’s live, international HD broadcast production of Macbeth, Željko Lučić returned to sing the title role in Rigoletto, Germont in La traviata, Di Luna in Il trovatore, the title role in Rigoletto, Enrico in the company’s Japan tour of Lucia di Lammermoor,and Michele in Il tabarro.
Internationally, he has performed the role of Scarpia in Tosca at Teatro alla Scala, Don Carlos in La forza del destino with Wiener Staatsoper, Miller in Luisa Miller with Bayerische Staatsoper, the title role in Nabucco with both Wiener Staatsoper and Oper Frankfurt; Don Carlo in Ernani with Asociacíon Bilbaína de Amigos de la Opera; the title role in Simon Boccanegra with Oper Frankfurt; Iago in Otello with Deutsche Oper Berlin; and Germont in La traviata with Royal Opera House: Covent Garden. Other successes include the title role in Macbeth, Miller in Luisa Miller, and Germont in La traviata with the Bayerische Staatsoper; a return to Oper Frankfurt to perform as Rodrigo in Don Carlo in a gala concert, as well as Zurga in Les Pêcheurs de perles; and the title role in Rigoletto for Teatro Real in Madrid. He has also performed at the annual Richard Tucker Gala in New York City.
Mr. Lučić’s many return engagements in recent seasons included the Wiener Staatsoper to sing the role of Germont; Staatsoper Dresden as the title role in Rigoletto; and Oper Frankfurt as the title roles in Simon Boccanegra and Macbeth, Iago in concert performances of Otello, Michele in Il tabarro, and the title role in Gianni Schicchi. He also performed the title role in Macbeth at both Bayerische Staatsoper and Amigos de la Opera in Coruña, Spain and performed the title role in Nabucco in Zagreb.
Other successes include his Metropolitan Opera debut as Barnaba in La Gioconda, his performance with Dallas Opera as the title role in Nabucco, with Bayerische Staatsoper as Don Carlo in La forza del destino and with Wiener Staatsoper as Germont in La traviata. He appeared with Oper Frankfurt as the title role in Simon Boccanegra, Renato in Un ballo in maschera, and Yeletsky in Pique Dame. In the summer of 2007, he made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut at Tanglewood as Rodrigo in a concert performance of Don Carlo under James Levine, and sang Amonasro in Aida for Staatsoper Dresden.
Mr. Lučić made an unscheduled debut with L’Opéra National de Paris singing Count di Luna for the opening of the new Francesca Zambello production of Il trovatore. He has also sung at Bregenz Festival, Hamburgische Staatsoper, and with Oper Frankfurt. He returned to San Francisco Opera to sing Don Carlo in La forza del destino after his debut with the company as Germont in La traviata – a role he has also sung at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, the Grand Théâtre de la Ville de Luxembourg, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Željko Lučić’s extensive performance repertoire also includes Lescaut in Manon Lescaut with Bayerische Staatsoper; Guy de Montfort in Les Vêpres siciliennes with Radio Filharmonisch Orkest at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw; Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, Semperoper Dresden, and Oper Frankfurt; and both the title role in Eugene Onegin, and Graf von Nevers in Les Huguenots with Oper Frankfurt. He has also appeared with many orchestras, including the Hessischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra, Belgrade Filharmony, and RTB Symphony Orchestra.
(Biography by Barrett Artists)