Fondazione Arena di Verona at Royal Opera House Muscat with Zeffirelli’s “Rigoletto”

A project begun by Maestro Zeffirelli, then continued by Royal Opera House Muscat in a co-production with Fondazione Arena di Verona and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre

Fondazione Arena di Verona is going to Oman. On 20th January 2022 the Royal Opera House will inaugurate its tenth anniversary season with a world premiere of Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi: a new production by Royal Opera House Muscat in co-production with Fondazione Arena di Verona and the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre 

Incollaboration with Rai Cultura and Raicom, the production will be broadcast on 28th January on Rai 5 in prime time and will later be distributed internationally by Raicom.

The unmistakable touch is that of Franco Zeffirelli. This new production is the result of a vision carried forward by the Maestro over a period of many years: a project begun, then interrupted and resumed just before his death, then definitively completed thanks to the will of the Board of Directors of Royal Opera House Muscat and its Director General and Artistic Director Umberto Fanni.

Maestro Zeffirelli’s was no casual choice: the inauguration of the Royal Opera House in 2011 was entrusted to Turandot directed by the Maestro, who on that occasion received from His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said “The Order of Oman, First Class” (the Sultanate’s highest honour, in recognition of his exceptional contribution to the launch of the new theatre).

For this special occasion, the production will feature the extraordinary participation of Leo Nucci in the role of Rigoletto. The principal performers will also include: Dmitry Korchak in the role of the Duke of Mantua, the talented young Giuliana Gianfaldoni in the role of Gilda, Riccardo Zanellato in the role of Sparafucile and Yulia Mazurova in the role Maddalena.

The opera will be conducted by the prestigious baton of Jan Latham-Koenig, with the participation of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Fondazione Arena di Verona.

The artistic team chosen by Maestro Zeffirelli is formed by Stefano Trespidi, direction assistant, Carlo Centolavigna, assistant scenographer, and prize-winning costume designer Maurizio Millenotti.

Moreover, a note of pride and merit for the Royal Opera House Muscat is the participation of a group of choristers of the Muscat Opera Choir Group, who will join the artistes of the Chorus of Fondazione Arena di Verona; for the occasion, the chorusmaster of the Arena Chorus, Vito Lombardi, selected a group of local choristers in order to prepare them in the best possible manner for the vocal style of Italian opera.

An important aspect linked to this production of Rigoletto is the originality of its various components with the close-knit participation of the sector’s musicians, singers, technicians and professionals from all over the world, while at the same time maintaining its strong Italian identity. The musical performance will be enriched by the presence of the famous string ensemble “I Solisti Veneti”, who will play the dance of Perigordino, entrusted to the company Il Leoncello - School and Historical Dance Group - directed by Alessandro Pontremoli.

Respecting the great tradition of Italian art, which belongs to us and has always distinguished Franco Zeffirelli’s works, the scenery has been constructed at the workshops of the Fondazione Arena di Verona and Tecnoscena in Tivoli for the fibreglass components, a fundamental feature of Zeffirelli’s style.

The costumes on the other hand were made by Rome’s Sartoria Farani and are one of the highlights of Italian craftsmanship, that so-called “Made in Italy” that always accentuates details, with extremely high quality and coherence in the colours and in the full respect of historical reconstruction.

The season’s launch will also include an exciting exhibition on the life of the legendary theatre director, which will be staged at the Royal Opera House of Musical Arts (the second theatre of the Omani cultural hub) from 16th January to 20th March 2022. By means of artefacts, photographs and videos designed ad hoc for the Royal Opera House Muscat, many on display for the first time, the exhibition is an artistic tour de force of Zeffirelli’s vision for great opera.

Soci Fondatori e Partner

Founding Members

Major Partner Arena di Verona Opera Festival