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Giuseppe Verdi's popular masterpiece Rigoletto returns to the Met this season. Five artists will make their Met debut and four performers will be singing in major roles for the first time with the company.

Important roles and dates:

Lado Ataneli sings the hunchback court jester and Christine Schäfer is his daughter Gilda beginning in September.

Conductor Paolo Arrivabeni makes his Met debut, as does Francesco Meli as the Duke of Mantua, Nino Surguladze as Maddalena, and Andrea Silvestrelli as Sparafucile.

October 5, George Gagnidze returns to the role of Rigoletto.

January 11, 2011 Nino Machaidze will play Gilda.

Joseph Calleja returns to his 2006 role as the Duke.

Giovanni Meoni adds a new role to his Met repertory in the title role, and Kirstin Chávez and Stefan Kocán do the same as Maddalena and Sparafucile respectively.

On April 26, the Met's principal guest conductor, Fabio Luisi leads a cast that includes Diana Damrau as Gilda (for two performances only, Machaidze sings the others), Giuseppe Filianoti as the Duke, and Željko Lu?i? in his Met role debut as Rigoletto. Nancy Fabiola Herrera returns as Maddalena.

The production of Rigoletto is by Otto Schenk, with sets and costumes designed by Zack Brown and lighting by Gil Wechsler.



*contributing source & photo courtesy of TalkOperaWorld.com