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TSO’s annual opera Rigoletto to portray human struggles

By Cho Yin-cheng
Staff Reporter

Korean tenor Gerard Kim, left, Russian soprano Natalia Sharay, center, and director Rupert Lummer will join hands to present Taipei Symphony Orchestra’s annual opera Rigoletto. Sept. 3 and 5 in Taipei.

Respected local conductor Chen Chiu-sheng will lead the Taipei Symphony Orchestra (TSO) in presenting their annual opera, the classical Italian opera Rigoletto, bringing the long-lasting masterpiece before local fans September 3 and 5 at the Metropolitan Hall Taipei.

“Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto is a very insightful opera that has been extremely popular for more than a hundred years,” says Chen, adding that of all theatrical styles, tragedy always provokes the strongest emotion in the audience.

“Rigoletto is not only an operatic masterpiece by Verdi; the human nature portrayed therein also deserves careful appreciation,” says director Rupert Lummer, who is cooperating once again with the TSO following his work on the opera Salome in 2003.

A number of experienced singers and musicians have been invited to complement the TSO during the two-day event. The leading character in Rigoletto, the Duke’s jester, will be played by Korean tenor Gerard Kim, who won first prize in the International ARD Competition in Germany in 2003.

The Duke of Mantua will be played by Charles Kim, who has drawn a great deal of attention after winning the title in the district vocal music competition organized by the Metropolitan Opera House in New York. Russian soprano Natalia Sharay will play the leading female character Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter.

While enjoying the breath-taking twists and turns of the spectacular production, audiences will also be able to appreciate classical musical pieces such as Franz Liszt’s Fantasy on Rigoletto, Italian composer and clarinetist Luigi Bassiu’s Fantasy on Rigoletto for Clarinet, and other noted pieces.

Having led the TSO in premiering a number of operas in Taiwan such as Aida, Carmen and The Lady of the Camellia, to name just a few, Chen is playing a vital role in the development of appreciation for domestic opera among residents here.