Teatro Liceu Preview 2016-17: Javier Camarena Takes on First ‘Rigoletto’

By David Salazar

Hearing a famous opera star taking on a new role for the first time in his or her career is usually a fascinating experience. Having heard the singer grow in other repertoire and roles, there is always a tremendous sense of anticipation about hearing an artist take on a new challenge.

On Tuesday, March 21, Barcelona audiences will get that opportunity when Javier Camarena takes on the role of Il Duca in Verdi’s famous “Rigoletto” at the Teatro Liceu.

The tenor has made a name for himself singing the works of such Bel Canto masters as Rossini and Bellini, his most recent “I Puritani” at the Metropolitan Opera drawing the Mexican singer some of the best reviews of his career.

Now the tenor ventures into unknown territory for him – Verdi.

Camarena has taken on Fenton in “Falstaff,” but the Duke’s role is far more difficult and heavier in its vocal style. Camarena, during a previous interview with OperaWire, noted that he was wary of a few sections in the opera.

“The quartet is not comfortable to sing for me,” he said. “It’s always hanging around the passaggio. And what makes it more difficult is that I want to do it exactly with all the diminuendos and crescendos that are written but that isn’t always easy to do with where Verdi places the vocal line.”

Joining him will be baritone Carlos Alvarez, who has been one of the best Rigoletto’s of recent times, and soprano Désirée Rancatore. A second cast, featuring Antonino Siragusa as the Count, Angel Odena, and Maria José Moren will perform on alternate dates. Both Odena and Siragusa will also make their role debuts as Rigoletto and the Duke of Mantua respectively.

Famous Rigoletto interpreter Leo Nucci will perform the title role on March 25, though not with Camarena.

Riccardo Frizza conducts the run in a production directed by Monique Wagemakers.

Audiences not in Barcelona will get a chance to see the opera live in cinemas on April 6, 2017.