Jonathan Miller’s iconic ‘Mafia’ production of Rigoletto returns to ENO

20th December 2016 in Press

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Director, Jonathan Miller
Revival Director, Elaine Tyler-Hall
Conductor, Richard Armstrong

Jonathan Miller’s iconic ‘Mafia’ production of Rigoletto returns to ENO

Opens Thursday 2 February at 7.30pm at London Coliseum (13 performances)

Jonathan Miller’s highly acclaimed and enduringly popular production of Rigoletto returns to the London Coliseum for its 13th revival. First seen in 1982, this celebrated retelling of Verdi’s timeless story of jealousy, love and betrayal is played out against the backdrop of New York’s Little Italy in the 1950’s.

Based on Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse (The King has fun), Rigoletto is one of Verdi’s best-loved operatic masterpieces. Verdi’s score contains some of the most famous and memorable melodies in all opera with ‘La donna è mobile’ (‘Women Abandon Us’) being particularly well known. Its tragic story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto’s beautiful daughter Gilda. The opera’s original title, La maledizione (The Curse), refers to the curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter had been seduced by the Duke with Rigoletto’s encouragement. The curse comes to fruition when Gilda likewise falls in love with the Duke with catastrophic consequences.

Over the last four decades Jonathan Miller’s much-loved productions have been at the heart of ENO’s work with over 1044 performances of his productions to date. The original creative team for Rigoletto comprises designers Patrick Robertson and Rosemary Vercoe, lighting designer Robert Bryan and choreographer Tommy Shaw. Richard Armstrong returns to ENO to conduct, following his performances of Madam Butterfly for the Company in May 2016.

Leading the cast in the title role is baritone Nicholas Pallesen. He last sung for the Company in David Alden’s production of The Queen of Spades in 2015 where he was seen as a ‘dashing presence, both vocally and physically as Prince Yeletsky’ (   He also performed the role of Fieramosca in Terry Gilliam’s five star production of Benvenuto Cellini in 2014.

American tenor Joshua Guerrero makes his UK and ENO debut as the Duke of Mantua. A member of LA Opera’s Young Artist programme and an Operalia prize winner, he has performed numerous roles at LA Opera and with the LA Philharmonic as well as at Ravinia Festival, Chicago and Teatro de la Maestranza, Seville.

Sydney Mancasola makes her ENO debut as Gilda. A current member of the ensemble at Oper Frankfurt, she has also performed with Komische Oper Berlin, Opera Theatre of St Louis and Palm Beach Opera.

British mezzo soprano Madeleine Shaw returns to the role of Maddalena after acclaimed performances in 2009. A former ENO young singer, she last performed with ENO as Magdalene in Richard Jones’s Olivier Award-winning production of The Mastersingers of Nuremberg. She has recently performed as Wellgunde and Rossweisse in Opera North’s Ring Cycle.

Former ENO Harewood Artist Barnaby Rea makes his role debut as Sparafucile. He last appeared with the Company as Don Basilio in Jonathan Miller’s production of The Barber of Seville in 2015 and recently joined the solo ensemble at Oper Frankfurt. Other roles for ENO include Colline in La bohème, Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers and Lodovico in Otello.

Current ENO Harewood Artists Matthew Durkan and Andri Björn Róbertsson are Marullo and Ceprano respectively.  Completing the cast are Nicholas Folwell as Monterone and Anthony Flaum as Borsa.

Rigoletto opens on Thursday 2 February 2017 at 7.30pm for 9 performances – 2, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 28 February at 7.30pm and 4, 25 February at 6.30pm

500 tickets for £20 or less are available for each performance. Tickets start from £12.

Pre-performance talk:  Wednesday 15 February 2017  5.15-6pm, £5/£2.50 concs.

Opera Undressed performances of Rigoletto will take place on 8 and 15 February.

See for more information.


Notes to Editors:

English National Opera is founded on the belief that opera of the highest quality should be accessible to everyone. We are a national company of international standard. We forge ground-breaking collaborations across art forms, and our world-class productions inspire, surprise, and captivate. We sing in English. We believe that singing in our own language connects the performers and the audience to the drama onstage, and enhances the experience for all. We bring our productions to the widest possible audience, whether at the London Coliseum, nationally or internationally. We make our work accessible by offering a large proportion of tickets at affordable prices, and by distributing it widely on screen and via digital media. We nurture talent across the entire company, whether on-stage, backstage, or in the pit. We provide a platform for young singers to develop global careers.

We tell the world’s most timeless stories, unforgettably.

Opera Undressed is an audience development scheme that aims to introduce newcomers to English National Opera by demystifying the opera-going experience in a fun and informal setting.

For just £20, audience members will:

  • Get a great seat in the house
  • Attend a pre-performance chat about the production
  • Get an outline of the opera in advance
  • Attend post-show drinks with cast and company members