Kendall Main Stage Theater on the campus of The College of New Jersey
2000 Pennington Rd
Ewing, New Jersey 08628
On Friday, April 17 at 8:00pm and Sunday, April 19 at 3:00pm, Boheme Opera NJ will highlight its 31st Anniversary Season with a fully staged imaginative production of one of opera’s most controversial and well-known masterpieces: Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. Performances will take place at Kendall Main Stage Theater on the campus of The College of New Jersey, 2000 Pennington Rd, Ewing Township, NJ 08628.
Verdi’s operas are known for their memorable tunes and the psychological complexity of their characters. He loved to portray realistic people in dramatic situations and to explore a full range of human emotion. Rigoletto premiered in Venice in 1851. It was based on a play The King Amuses Himself by French novelist Victor Hugo. Hugo’s novels, like Les Misérables or The Hunchback of Notre Dame, carry social messages, often portraying powerful characters that oppress society’s outcasts. This play was no exception. The story contained a negative depiction of royalty – featuring an exploitative king who seduces an innocent girl. When Verdi wanted to turn this play into an opera, censors demanded that the king in the original version be changed to a mere duke, in order to soften the story’s revolutionary message against monarchy. Despite this change, Rigoletto still raises serious questions about social justice.
The exciting young cast that Boheme Opera has assembled will put you on the edge of your seat with vocal fireworks. BONJ Artistic Director Joseph Pucciatti will stage direct and conduct the production – with the Boheme Opera Men’s Chorus and Orchestra. Stunning digital sets are by J. Matthew Root, lighting design is by Joseph Lazarus, costumes are assembled by Brian Mulligan, wig/hair/makeup designed by Patricia DelSordo and English supertitles provided by Tom Getty.
Starring in the title role is baritone Robert Balonek. Making his BONJ debut, he has been praised by the New York Times as having a “commanding, steely baritone and a direct, crystal-clear delivery. He is versatile in his acting, dancing and singing, as has performed everything from bass-baritone oratorio work to Verdi operas.
Mailing Address: PO Box 4157, Trenton, NJ 08610 (609) 581-9551 www.bohemeopera.com
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Rigoletto – Press Release
Making his BONJ debut and role debut as The Duke of Mantua is tenor Jeremy Brauner, a finalist in the MONC competition and winner of an Encouragement Award from the Wagner Society of New York. He has performed such roles as Alfredo (La Traviata), Mario Cavaradossi (Tosca), Ricardo (Un Ballo in Maschera), Calaf (Turandot) and B.F. Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly).
Soprano Dana Pundt returns to the BONJ main stage as Gilda, having sung her first Lucia with Boheme Opera NJ in 2017. A few of her recent roles include Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogue of the Carmelites, Anna Gomez in Menotti’s The Consul and the Queen of the Night in Mozart’s The Magic Flute. 2020 began with her debut at Opera Projects Columbus as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, and she will return there as Mimi in La Bohème.
In his BONJ debut singing the role of Sparafucile is bass James Gaylon. He has sung with many opera companies and orchestras in the US and abroad, including Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Symphony, Hong Kong Opera, National Symphonies of Mexico and of Costa Rica, and many others.
Making her role debut as Maddalena is mezzo-soprano Devony Smith. Excelling in both contemporary and traditional repertoire, recent appearances include the title role in the workshop of the Metropolitan Opera-commissioned Eurydice, a staged production of Dichterliebe with the New Orchestra of Washington and Mahler’s Symphony No. 4.
If live opera is on your bucket list, don’t miss Boheme Opera’s production of Giuseppe Verdi’s RIGOLETTO. For tickets, visit the homepage of bohemeopera.com, call the TCNJ box office at (609) 771-2775 or link to: https://tinyurl.com/BONJ-Rigoletto. For more company information, visit bohemeopera.com OR Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BohemeOperaNJ/. There are pre-curtain talks in the theater one hour prior to performances. The opera will be sung in Italian with projected English supertitles. Kendall Main Stage Theater is handicap accessible, and a campus special needs shuttle will be provided.
Funding for Boheme Opera NJ programming is made possible in part by a grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, Princeton Friends of Opera, Dorothea Van Dyke McLane Association, Roma Bank Community Foundation, Investors Bank Community Foundation, corporations, businesses, individuals and collaborative contributions.