Originally trained as a violinist, Sascha Goetzel began his orchestral career in close contact with great conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti and Seiji Ozawa. After his debut with several Austrian orchestras, he completed highly successful guest appearances with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, Luxembourg Philharmonic, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Tokyo, Sapporo and Nagoya and the State Philharmonic of the Rhineland-Pfalz. Until 2013, he was Chief Conductor of the Finnish Kuopio Symphony Orchestra and is Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Borusan Istanbul Orchestra. From 2012/2013, he was appointed Primary guest conductor of the Orchestre Symphonique de Bretagne and the Kanagawa Philharmonic Orchestra. Sascha Goetzel is an experienced opera conductor and conducted a Da Ponte cycle and La Bohème at the Tyrolean State Theatre. At the Mariinsky Theatre he directed Don Giovanni and at the Festival Attersee Klassik Così fan tutte, The Nutcracker at the Vienna State Opera as well as numerous opera and operetta performances at the Vienna Volksoper.
The tenor YOSEP KANG studied in Seoul, Salzburg and Berlin. He is a prize-winner of several singing competitions. In 2002, he sang Conte d’Almaviva with the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. He went on to sing this work at the Berlin State Opera, in Stuttgart, Essen, Hannover, Cologne and Wiesbaden. Other engagements have led among others, as Nemorino to Görlitz, as Tamino in Stuttgart and Graz, as Alfredo in Stuttgart, Mannheim and Wiesbaden, as Edgardo to Hannover and Wiesbaden, as Rosenkavalier-Singer at the Komische Oper in Berlin, to Munich, Dresden and Cologne, as Don Ottavio to Klagenfurt and as Rodolfo to Lyon and Vienna. At the Vienna State Opera, he has already sung Rodolfo.
ROBERTO FRONTAL is among the leading baritones of his generation. In the course of his career he has sung numerous roles ranging from Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini to the main roles in the Verdi operas Don Carlo, Falstaff, Ernani, Il trovatore, Simon Boccanegra, Un ballo in maschera, Luisa Miller, Attila, Rigoletto and I vespri siciliani. Recently Roberto Frontali has appeared in operas such as Eugen Onegin, Andrea Chénier, Fanciulla del West, Adriana Lecouvreur, Cavalleria rusticana, Pagliacci, Falstaff, Stiffelio, Il tabarro and Gianni Schicchi. Performances regularly lead him to the New York Metropolitan Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Rossini festival in Pesaro, the ROH Covent Garden, the Teatro La Fenice in Venice, to Tokyo, Rome, Geneva, Dresden, San Francisco, Moscow, Buenos Aires. Roberto Frontali made his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 1992 as Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia) and has since sung roles such as Enrico (Lucia di Lammermoor), Belcore (L’elisir d’amor), Posa (Don Carlo), Sir Riccardo Forth (I puritani), Nottingham (Roberto Devereux) and Giorgio Germont (La traviata) here.
Soprano AIDA GARIFULLINA was born in Russia. She studied vocal arts, for example at the Music University in Vienna and made her debut at a studio production as Despina in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart´s Così fan tutte. In 2012 Aida Garifullina made her debut at the Arena di Verona in Italy. That same year she won Plácido Domingo´s renowned Operalia competition. This first prize initiated the singer´s great career. Aida Garifullina received her first invitations to Beijing and to the Moscow Bolschoi Theatre. She performed as Susanna in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart´s Le nozze di Figaro, a role she also sang at the St. Petersburg Mariinski Theatre. There she also sang Adina in Gaetano Donizetti´s L´esilir d´amore. In July 2013 Aida Garifullina appeared at a gala in Kazan with the orchestra of the Mariinski Theatre under the direction of Valery Gergiev. Despite her young age, she was already awarded the title Honoured Artist of The Republic of Tatarstan. Recently she performed Nannetta in Giuseppe Verdi´s Falstaff – a role which she also interpreted in Buenos Aires. As of the season 2014/2015 she is member of the ensemble at the Wiener Staatsoper.
ALESSANDRO GUERZONI was born in Italy and studied in Turin and at the Salzburg Mozarteum. His career led him to the great international stages with the most significant parts of his fach. For example, he sang Timur (Turandot) under Zubin Mehta in Florence, Colline (La Bohème) under Antonio Pappano in Brussels, Angelotti (Tosca) under Zubin Mehta in Florence and Tokyo, under Daniel Oren in London and under Marco Armiliato in the Arena die Verona, Banquo in Barccelona, Sparafucile in Turin, Parma, Edinburgh and Cologne, Pistola at La Scala in Milan, Sarastro in Cologne, Komtur under Claudio Abbado in Aix-en-Provence, under Daniel Harding in Milan, under René Jacobs in Paris, Innsbruck and Baden-Baden, Leporello in Cologne, Nozze-Bartolo in Los Angeles, Conte Rodolfe (La sonnambula) in Turin, Don Basilio (Barbiere die Siviglia) in Cagliari, Frère Laurent in Turin, Ro (L´amour des Trois Oranges) in Cologne, Giorgio (I puritani) in Barcelona. As a concert singer, he for example performed in Puccini´s Messa di Gloria under Antonio Pappano and in Mozart´s Requiem under Antonio Pappano, Frans Brüggen under Myung-Whun Chung.
Margarita Gritskova was born in 1987 in St. Petersburg. Aside from singing, she also learned piano in her homwtown, and later studied in the St. Petersburg Conservatoire. She is a prizewinner of numerous competitions, among others the Luciano Pavarotti-Competiton in Modena and the Concurso Internacional de Canto Villa de Colmenar in Spain. In 2010, she was a finalist at the Operalia Competition. Margarita Gritskova washeard among others singing under the direction of Mariss Janson in St. Petersburg; as well as at the Festival de Ópera de Tenerife in Salome and Cherubino at the Sommerfestival in St. Moritz, as well as Rosina at the Hungarian Staatsoper and Olga at the Opera de Quebec. In 2009/2010, Margarita Gritskova was a member of the ensemble of the National Theatre Weimar, where she sang parts like Cherubino, Flora, Maddalena, Ottone, Bradamante, Marthe, Carmen and Olga. At the Wiener Staatsoper, where she is an ensemblemember, she made her debut in 2012 as Tebaldo (Don Carlo) and has also sung among others Fjodor, Cherubino (Japan-Guest performance of the Wiener Staatsoper), Dryade, Tisbe, Bersi, Rosina, Dorabella and Angelina.
Act 1 At a party, the Duke of Mantua reveals that he has been pursuing a young woman he does not know. He considers being faithful to one woman laughable; to him all women are attractive. Goaded by his jester Rigoletto, he has just set his sights on Countess Ceprano. Marullo tells the other courtiers about his latest discovery: the ugly Rigoletto seems to have a lover. Since Rigoletto is hated at court but is untouchable, the courtiers – led by Count Ceprano – plan to take their revenge on him by abducting his presumed lover. When Rigoletto mocks Count Monterone, who arrives to accuse the Duke of having dishonoured his daughter, Monterone curses the despot and his cynical jester. On his way home, Rigoletto encounters the hired killer Sparafucile. When he unexpectedly offers Rigoletto his services, Rigoletto seems interested. He realizes that Sparafucile is a reflection of himself: both of them are outsiders. Disconcerted by Monterone’s curse, Rigoletto blames society and his dubious metier for his own wickedness. At home with his daughter Gilda, whom he tries to keep hidden away from the world, Rigoletto seeks the happiness that life denies him. He sidesteps all her questions about her identity and his own. Out of fear of losing her Rigoletto forbids his daughter all contact with the outside world, other than attending church. A young man is nevertheless courting her. It is the duke, who is passing himself off as a poor student. When Rigoletto leaves the house, the Duke assails Gilda with declarations of love that seem to her to be her girlish dreams coming true. Noise from the street forces the Duke to leave: the courtiers have arrived to abduct Rigoletto’s “lover”. Rigoletto, whom they have blindfolded, even helps them in their endeavour, believing that they are abducting Countess Ceprano. Too late, Rigoletto realizes what has happened. Act 2 The Duke finds Rigoletto’s house deserted. He laments his lost love, for whom for the first time he believes to have felt deep affection. At court, he discovers that Gilda has been brought by his courtiers to the palace, and he hurries to be with her. Rigoletto searches frantically for his daughter, but the courtiers are of no assistance to him, even when he reveals to them that they abducted not his lover but his daughter. When the Duke sends Gilda away, she tries to confide in her father. But Rigoletto can think only of bloody revenge. Act 3 To “cure” Gilda of her love for the Duke, Rigoletto takes her to Sparafucile’s house and forces her to watch as the Duke takes his pleasure with the prostitute Maddalena (Sparafucile’s sister). Rigoletto sends his daughter away to prepare for their flight and instructs Sparafucile to kill the Duke. However, Gilda has returned secretly and overhears how Maddalena persuades her brother to murder the next person to come to the house before midnight instead of the Duke. Gilda is firmly resolved to sacrifice herself for her love. She knocks at the door. A short while later, Sparafucile gives Rigoletto a corpse in a sack. At the moment of his greatest triumph – Rigoletto feels like the omnipotent avenger – he hears the Duke’s voice.Horrified, he opens the sack and sees his dying daughter. Without comprehending what has happened, Rigoletto believes that Monterone’s curse has caused the tragedy.