San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

‘Rigoletto’ Comes to Melico Salazar

The Melico Salazar Theater in downtown San José will host a production of Verdi’s classic opera “Rigoletto” Feb. 29 through March 2.

The three performances are the last of a 10-date tour through Central America that began Jan. 31 in Guatemala and is also visiting El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama. The tour was organized by the Rio Enza production company, which in recent years has brought “Luisa Fernanda” (TT, Aug. 12, 2005), “La Traviata” (TT, Feb. 18, 2005) and “The Barber of Seville” (TT, March 9, 2007) to San José.

Based on the Victor Hugo play “Le roi s’amuse,” “Rigoletto,” the 16th opera composed by the Italian master, was first performed in 1851. It tells the story of a malevolent duke and his jester, Rigoletto. Although Rigoletto is complicit in the duke’s dishonoring of other women, he has a secret daughter, Gilda, whom he cares for jealously. Count Monterone, tired of the pair’s behavior, curses the two men. Rigoletto at first laughs about the curse but, as events spiral beyond his control, he comes to bear the consequences of his own actions.

Italian Massimo Pezzutti is scenic director for the production, with compatriot Bruno D’Astoli as musical director. Though the cast is primarily Italian – featuring baritones Mauro Augustini and Omar Camata as Rigoletto and tenors Massimiliano Barbolini and Romolo Tisano as the Duke of Mantua – it also features Guatemalan and Costa Rican performers. Guatemalan soprano Ana Isabel Lazo will play Gilda, along with Italian soprano Anna Carnovali, and Tico tenor Gustavo Hernández will play Count Monterone.

Guatemalan mezzo-soprano Ana Rosa Orozco and Costa Rican soprano Giselle Santamaría will share the role of Maddalena.

Tickets range in price from ¢10,000 to ¢30,000 ($20 to $60)and are available at the theater’s box office (257-6005), Bansbach stores, Häagen-Dazs outlets, Hipermás and Maxibodega supermarkets, or online at


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