Rigoletto brings opera to Schuler

Jantzen Hunsaker, Staff Writer
September 15, 2013

Schuler Auditorium hosted Opera Coeur d’Alene Friday night for their production of “Rigoletto,” a 19th century Opera of acclaimed composer Giuseppe Verdi.
According to Aaron Nicholson, Artistic Director at Opera CDA, he chose “Rigoletto” for a two reasons. The Opera “Rigoletto” is widely accepted as the masterpiece of composer Giuseppe Verdi and nearing the Bicentennial of his birth, Nicholson felt that this was a good way to pay homage to a great opera and composer.  “It was also easy to cast locally” Nicholson added. Many of the cast and orchestra are local from the Inland and Pacific Northwest regions.
There was a palpable excitement as the auditorium began to fill with patrons. Nicholson, along with Maestro Andrew Bisantz held a lecture prior to the show to help explain the plot and how they came up with their interpretation of Verdi’s production.  They showed enthusiasm as they walked the audience through the many stages of anger, laughter and grief shown by each individual character.
This is one way that Opera Coeur d’Alene is trying to make opera accessible by everyone and not just the wealthy or retired. While operamerica.org shows the average age of opera patrons as 48, Nate Jolley, President of the Board for Opera CDA has noticed a change.
“It seems like Opera has been a growing interest among students and younger people, I think it’s great” Jolley said. He was one of the people consistently manning the ticket table leading up to the event to help students and the community and offer further information for other Opera Coeur d’Alene events.
Besides the language barriers being a possible hindrance, money can also play a factor. The Wall Street Journal has figured the average ticket cost for the Metropolitan Opera as $174.00. We had our own slice of opera pie with Raúl Melo, a celebrated tenor with the Met Opera. Students tickets started at only $15.
The production was top notch and lived up being the highest-level production as Nicholson had stated. With each subsequent movement the applause would get louder and the yells and whistles increased. By the end of the show the applause was almost deafening and followed by a standing ovation for the cast and direction.
With such success at pulling off a large-scale production, there may be a great future for opera in the Northwest.

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