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Eugene Weekly : Culture : 03.10.05


Cruel Betrayals

Eugene Opera stages Rigoletto.



Cruel Betrayals

Eugene Opera stages Rigoletto.


Love, lust betrayal — the stuff of tales as old as time. Combine classic themes with theater, a live orchestra and amazing sets and you get opera, the pinnacle of all performance art.

And when it comes to opera, Rigoletto is one of the best introductory experiences you could have. Who cares if you can't understand the words. The Eugene Opera's performance March 11 and 13 will be at the Hult Center with a loose translation up on the big screen in supertitles. That's really, really big subtitles.

Gone are the days when seeing an opera meant a formal dress or a suit, maybe even a tux. Wear jeans. Wear a plaid shirt. Wear your muddy boots. Wear your formal dress. Wear whatever you want. Just don't miss Rigoletto, especially if you've never been to an opera.

Years ago Julie Celeste, Eugene Opera's marketing director, was working for a PR firm that had just taken on an opera company as a client. She hadn't seen an opera in decades when she went to see a performance of Rigoletto.

"I was very intimidated myself," she said. "I thought I was in way over my head. But once the performance started, it was really relaxing. You get so drawn into the story line."

Joseph LeBlanc plays the lecherous Duke of Mantua, who makes a game of seducing the women of his court and kingdom. Rigoletto (Scott Bearden) is the Duke's court jester, who has raised his beautiful daughter, Gilda (Megan Monaghan), in secret to protect her. Hearing of this enticing conquest, the Duke pursues Gilda and his courtiers abduct her. Rigoletto plots revenge. But in the end, as the music climaxes in a torrential storm scene, the plans go awry.

The Eugene Opera performs Rigoletto 7:30 pm on March 11 and 2:30 pm March 13. Log on to www.eugeneopera.com to purchase tickets online or call 485-3985.