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Opera: Verdi’s Rigoletto

A limited number of tickets with restricted view (14 and 15 December, $150) are available for sale at Urbtix on a first-come-first-served basis.

Venue Date & Time Price
Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall
$600, $450, $300, $150*

*The sightline of certain seats may be restricted


An Opera in 3 Acts

Performed in Italian with Chinese and English Surtitles

A Musica Viva Production

Trailer: Opera: Verdi’s Rigoletto

About the programme

Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by the Italian genius Giuseppe Verdi, set to a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s’amuse by Victor Hugo.  Premiered in Venice in 1851, the work was Verdi’s first international triumph and ranks among the most frequently performed operas in the world.  The protagonist of the tragic story is a hunch-backed court jester who encourages his master, the Duke of Mantua, to indulge in a licentious and lustful life until his own daughter, Gilda, falls victim to the Duke’s seduction.  Rigoletto’s plot to have his master murdered backfires and results in Gilda’s death.  Verdi imbued this work with enchanting melodies, strong dramatic situations, powerful characterization and intense emotions. This special production by Musica Viva of Hong Kong features a team of world-renowned opera stars who have sung with the Metropolitan Opera of New York, Chicago Lyric Opera, Royal Opera of London and some of the most prestigious companies world-wide, performing with excellent young artists of Hong Kong.  The production is directed by Lo King-man and conducted by Lio Kuok-man.





Scene 1: At the palace where a party is taking place, the Duke of Mantua, a libertine notorious for his dissolute way of life, tells a lackey about a girl he is planning to seduce. The court jester Rigoletto encourages the Duke’s corrupt existence in order to retain his master’s favour.  The courtiers hate him for his malicious insults, and are waiting for a chance to wreak vengeance.  In the meantime, Rigoletto taunts Count Ceprano, whose wife is being molested by the Duke.  Old baron Monterone suddenly appears to interrupt the party, denouncing the Duke for dishonouring his daughter.  The Duke allows Rigoletto to mock the old nobleman, who curses them both.  The curse strikes terror in Rigoletto, for he too, unknown to the court, has a daughter.


Scene 2: On the way home, Rigoletto is still deeply troubled by Monterone’s curse. He is accosted by a professional killer, Sparafucile, who offers his services.  Having no immediate target, Rigoletto dismisses Sparafucile, and alone broods on his own misery.  His daughter Gilda greets him as he arrives home, and they express deep mutual love and care.  As soon as Rigoletto leaves, the Duke enters in disguise.  His sweet words intoxicate Gilda who falls helplessly in love with him.  Noises are heard, and the Duke departs after a passionate farewell.  For their revenge on Rigoletto, the courtiers have come to abduct Gilda, believing that she is his mistress.  They fool him into believing that the Countess Ceprano is their target.  He realizes too late that his own daughter has been taken off.  In auguish, he remembers Monterone’s curse.



The Duke, having gone back to Rigoletto’s house later that night and found it empty, is now in his palace feeling dejected.  The courtiers tell him about Gilda’s abduction, and the Duke hurries off to enjoy his new prey.  Rigoletto arrives, pretending indifference while searching desperately for his daughter.  The courtiers take silent revenge for the injustices the jester has always done them.  Their cruel mockery reduces him to abject pleading.  Gilda rushes in to confess her disgrace.  In a terrible rage, Rigoletto vows vengeance on the Duke.



Outside the dilapidated inn kept by Sparafucile, Rigoletto has brought Gilda to witness the true character of the Duke whom she still loves.  Sparafucile, hired by Rigoletto to murder the Duke, uses his sister Maddalena to lure the victim to the inn.  Here, Gilda sees the libertine Duke’s shameless behaviour.  Thinking that she is now convinced of the Duke’s worthlessness, Rigoletto sends her home to disguise herself as a man and prepare to leave the city.  Gilda obeys only half of his instructions.  She puts on the disguise but returns to hear Maddalena persuade her brother not to kill the Duke if anyone should come to be the unfortunate substitute.  She decides to sacrifice herself for him.  At the height of a storm, she goes into the inn.  Rigoletto returns at midnight to collect his victim.  As he gloats over the wrapped body, the Duke’s voice is heard.  Horrified, Rigoletto tears open the sack to find his own daughter, dying.  Monterone’s curse has been fulfilled.


The content of this programme does not represent the view of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

About the Performer

Music Director: Lio Kuok-man

Producer & Director: Lo King-man

Chamber Orchestra: Hong Kong Virtuosi

Chorus: The Opera Society of Hong Kong

Chorusmaster: Raymond Fu

Lighting: Peter Li

Costumes: Mandy Tam

Sets: Allan Tsui


Rigoletto (Baritones)

Michael Corvino (1)(3)

Daniel Sutin (2)(4)

Gilda (Sopranos)

Sang Eun Lee (1)(3)(4)

Colette Lam (2)

Duke of Mantua (Tenors)

Todd Wilander (1)(3)

Jeffrey Hartman (2)(4)

Sparafucile (Bass)

Freddie Tong

Maddalena (Mezzo-soprano)

Carol Lin

Monterone (Baritone)

Sammy Chien

(1) 13/12, 7:45pm;  (2) 14/12, 2:45pm;  (3) 14/12, 7:45pm  (4) 15/12, 2:45pm


Lio Kuok-man 


Praised by the American press as ‘a startling conducting talent’ for his ‘grace and assurance’ and his ‘beautiful sense of control’, Lio Kuok-man is equally sought after as a conductor, piano soloist and chamber musician.  He has worked as conductor in both the symphonic and operatic genres, having conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra, Canada’s National Arts Centre and Museum Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta, Pan Asia Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Virtuosi, Taipei Philharmonic and Macau Orchestra.  His appearances at music festivals include Beijing International Music Festival, Cabrillo New Music Festival, Great Mountain Music Festival of Korea, Hong Kong Arts Festival and Macau International Music Festival.  In opera, Lio has conducted Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro, Carmen, and for Musica Viva Hong Kong, L’Elisir d’Amore, La Fille du Régiment, Lucia di Lammermoor, Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci.  As a concert pianist, Lio has performed as soloist with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Camerata Salzburg, Romania Bacau Philharmonic, China National Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic and Shanghai Symphony Orchestra.  As a chamber musician, he has performed with members of Les Arts Florissants in New York and is a founding member and President of the Macau Chamber Music Association.  After graduating from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts with first class honours in piano performance, Lio obtained his Master’s degree from the Juilliard School of Music in New York and pursued further studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the New England Conservatory in Boston.  He has won numerous prizes and awards including First Prize at the First Toyama Piano Competition in Hong Kong and at the Sixth Mauro Paolo Monopoli International Piano Competition in Italy, the Theodore Presser Foundation Award for Young Conductors, the Marilyn Horne Foundation Award and Finalist in the First Chicago Symphony Sir Georg Solti Conducting Competition.  He has received honours from the governments of Hong Kong and Macau.


Lo King-man

Producer & Director

Returning from Italy where he worked at the Opera of Rome and the Morlacchi Theatre of Perugia in the 1960s, Lo King-man has since written, directed and designed over 160 stage productions ranging from opera, drama, dance to musical theatre with performances in Asia, Europe and America.  Over the years, he has made significant contributions not only in the performing arts but also in the fields of higher education and public service.  He was Director of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts from 1993 to 2004.  He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honours from international academic and arts institutions as well as the HKSAR Government and several foreign nations.  In 2008, he participated in the creation of Musica Viva, an organization dedicated to nurturing young artists and extending their performing opportunities in operas and concerts.


Michael Corvino


During the 2010/11 season, Michael Corvino performed in Metropolitan Opera’s productions of Don Carlo, Roméo et Juliette and Capriccio. He has been in great demand for the title role of Verdi’s Rigoletto which he recently sang with Germany’s Stadttheater Giessen, and opera companies in the United States at Connecticut, Memphis, Santa Barbara, Granite State, Utah Festival, Illinois, Sarasota, and with the Newton Symphony Orchestra. During the current season, Michael Corvino joins the roster of Lyric Opera of Chicago for Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra. Additional career highlights have included the principal baritone roles in Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, La Traviata, La Bohème, Madama Butterfly and Turandot with New York City Opera. He made his Carnegie Hall debut in Halévy’s La Juive with Opera Orchestra of New York followed by repeat appearance in Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia. Other important engagements include both Italian and French versions of Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, Otello, Nabucco, Il Trovatore, Stiffelio and Don Carlo with major companies across the United States. He returns to Hong Kong for Rigoletto with Musica Viva after his outstanding performances here in Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor in 2012.


Daniel Sutin


Since making his debut at the Metropolitan Opera of New York in 2002, Daniel Sutin has performed with the Met on numerous occasions, assuming important roles in such operas as Roméo et Juliette, Boris Godounov, Falstaff, Turandot, Hänsel und Gretel, Die Frau ohne Schattan, Wozzeck and Lulu. In the 2006/07 season, he performed in the world premiere of Tan Dun’s The First Emperor produced by the Metropolitan Opera. In the same year, he made his debut with Reisopera in the Netherlands in La Traviata, and another debut with the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto in Elektra. Daniel Sutin first appeared at the Royal Opera House at Convent Garden, London, in their 2008 production of La Fanciulla del West. He has also sung with the Chicago Lyric Opera in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and La Bohème, the Boston Lyric Opera in the title role of Macbeth, the Austin Lyric Opera in I Pagliacci, and L’Opéra de Montréal in Simon Boccanegra. Earlier this year, he was at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland appearing in La Traviata. Daniel Sutin has performed the title role of Rigoletto with great success in Nashville and San Antonio where his striking stage presence and dramatic characterization earned him high critical acclaim. He will repeat this role for Musica Viva in Hong Kong immediately following his current performances with the Met in New York.


Sang Eun Lee


Korean soprano Sang Eun Lee’s interpretation of the role of Gilda in Rigoletto received raving reviews when she performed it with the Virginia Opera in the United States and the International Vocal Arts Institute in Israel, France and Japan. The Washington Post praised her ability to ‘place every note with exquisite accuracy while projecting a full palette of innocent haplessness, filial devotion and passion.  She used her splendid vocal equipment subtly and with artistic restraint.  Her Gilda was captivating.’  The Tel-Aviv press described her performance as ‘electrifying…she will be remembered as a star appears!’

With a range of more than three octaves, Sang Eun Lee specializes in the high coloratura soprano repertoire as well as in bel canto style and early music. With her native Korea National Opera, she has appeared in the principal roles of Idomeneo, Die Zauberflöte, Lucia di Lammermoor and Madama Butterfly. With the Opera Theatre of Lakeland, she sang in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; with the Connecticut Grand Opera, she performed in Don Pasquale; and with the Natchez Opera Festival, Così fan Tutte, Falstaff and Die Zauberflöte.  She is the audience’s favourite in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and in Antwerp, Belgium, and has performed in recitals, oratorios, gala concerts, and music festivals all over the world.  Sang Eun Lee first sang in Hong Kong in Musica Viva’s 2012 production of Lucia di Lammermoor.  She comes to repeat her triumph in this Rigoletto.


Colette Lam


Hong Kong born Chinese soprano Colette Lam is currently studying with Dennis O’Neill and Nuccia Focile at the Wales International Academy of Voice, UK.  She made her role debut as Marie in La Fille du Régiment with Musica Viva Hong Kong in 2010.  She also participated in Musica Viva’s productions of L’Elisir d’Amore and Carmen in 2011, and appeared as Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte with Opera Hong Kong in the same year.  In 2012, she sang the principal soprano role in Don Pasquale at the Hong Kong City Hall.  Colette made her European debut as Papgena in Zeist, the Netherlands in 2008 and Amina in La Sonnambula in London in 2009.  She will appear as Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Lyrica in Oxford, UK.  Her major concert credits include Mahler’s Second Symphony, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Shostakovich’s 17 Romances on Verses by Alexander Blok and Schnittke’s Requiem.  Colette has given recitals in Hong Kong, Mainland China, Singapore, Wales, England and Italy.  She recently performed as soloist for the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Hong Kong Bach Choir, Macau Voices and the Hong Kong Museum of Art.  After graduating from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Colette enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she obtained a postgraduate diploma with Distinction and a Master of Music degree in Performance and Dissertation.


Todd Wilander


Todd Wilander made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2007 in a new production of Lucia di Lammermoor under the baton of Met’s music director James Levine.  It was in the principal tenor role of this same opera that he first sang in Hong Kong in a Musica Viva production in 2012.  He returns this winter for the role of the Duke in Rigoletto, which he recently performed with great success for Russia’s Kazan State Opera.  His regular Metropolitan Opera engagements have included Il Barbiere di Siviglia, I Pagliacci, La Fanciulla del West, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Gambler, House of the Dead, and The Nose. Todd Wilander has won high critical acclaim for his performances. The New York Times praised his ‘brave, vocally assured portrayals’, and Opera News his ‘clear and sweet lyrical tone’.  He has sung the principal lead roles in La Fille du Régiment for the Netherlands’ Opera Zuid; Die Entführung for Buenos Aires’ Teatro Colon; Les Pêcheurs de Perles for Dublin Opera Festival; Maria Stuarda, Anna Bolena, Roberto Devereux and La Traviata for major festivals in the United Kingdom.  He has also performed with Deutsche Oper Berlin, Teatro La Fenice of Venice, San Francisco Opera and numerous important companies in Europe and across America.  Todd Wilander has won many prestigious awards, including those of the Licia Albanese/ Puccini Foundation, the Richard Tucker Foundation, the Metropolitan National Council and the Houston Grand Opera Competition.


Jeffrey Hartman


American tenor Jeffrey Hartman is a native of Anderson, Indiana.  In January 2013, he made his debut in Hong Kong singing the dual tenor lead roles in Musica Viva’s production of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci.  His performances were a sensational success.  In June this year, he sang with the Compañía Lírica Nacional of Costa Rica and achieved international recognition.  In August, he completed an engagement for Aïda with Berks Opera Theatre in Pennsylvania in which he sang with Metropolitan Opera soprano Jennifer Check in the title role.  In December, he returns to Hong Kong to assume the role of the Duke for Musica Viva’s Rigoletto, a part which he has performed with acclaim for the Westside Opera Society of New York.  Hartman’s recent career highlights include the principal tenor roles of La Bohème, Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Turandot, Faust, L’Elisir d’Amore and La Traviata presented in New York City, Boston, New Jersey, Indianapolis, Connecticut, Edmonton and various regional opera houses.  He is the first-prize winner of the Appleman Award, the National Association of Teachers of Singing Award, the Dicapo Opera Theatre Competition and the Wagner Society of New York Award.


Freddie Tong


Born in Hong Kong and based in the United Kingdom, Freddie obtained a degree in economics and statistics from University College London before gaining a First Class Honours degree, a Master of Music degree and graduated with distinction from the opera course at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has since sung over 30 roles with major opera companies including: for English National Opera, Nourabad in The Pearl Fishers, Monterone in Rigoletto and the Cardinal in The Duchess of Malfi; for the Royal Albert Hall, Commissioner in Madama Butterfly; for Grange Park Opera, Bartolo in Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore; for Opera Holland Park, Masetto in Don Giovanni; for Diva Opera, Sulpice in La Fille du Régiment, Angelotti in Tosca and Basilio in Il Barbiere di Siviglia; for Singapore Lyric Opera, Dancairo in Carmen; for Opera Hong Kong, Colline in La Bohème, the Speaker in Die Zauberflöte, the Monk in Don Carlo and the Bailli in Werther; and for Zeist Music Festival in Holland, the title role in Le Nozze di Figaro and the Commendatore in Don Giovanni.  In 2011, Freddie Tong performed the role of Sparafucile in Rigoletto throughout France and Switzerland with Diva Opera, Britain’s foremost touring opera company.  In the same year, he sang Dulcamara in L’Elisir d’Amore with Musica Viva Hong Kong, returning in 2012 for Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor, and now, for the third time with Musica Viva, as Sparafucile in Rigoletto.


Carol Lin

Mezzo soprano

Born in Hong Kong, Carol has performed principal roles in opera including the title roles of Xerxes, Carman and Santuzza in Musica Viva’s production of Cavalleria Rusticana. Other important roles include Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier, Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, Stephano in Roméo et Juliette, and Suzuki in Musica Viva’s Madama Butterfly. She has been the featured soloist in many art-song recitals, oratorio concerts and chamber music performances with such organization as Boston Philharmonic, Aspen Sinfonia, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Singapore Philharmonic, Hong Kong Sinfonietta and Radio Television Hong Kong. She won both the first prize and the Grand Jury award at the 2011 Yokohama International Music Competition and third prize at the 2013 ‘Giovani Musicisti - Città di Treviso’ International Competition in Trevi, Italy.  A graduate of The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Carol earned a Master of Music in vocal performance from New England Conservatory, Boston. She was also a vocal fellow at the Aspen Music Festival.


Sammy Chien


Sammy Chien Sum-ming graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2008.  He currently studies with the renowned bass Gong Dongjian.  In 2006 he won the first prize in the Operatic Aria section of the Hong Kong Youth Singing Festival.  He has performed over 20 operatic roles including Schaunard in La Bohème, Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Morales in Carmen and Marchese d’Obigny in La Traviata with Opera Hong Kong.  For Musica Viva, he was Admiral Sun in a contemporary chamber opera The Legend of Zhang Baozai (premiered in Shanghai EXPO and Hong Kong in 2010), Dancairo in The Story of Carmen, King Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors and Germont in La Traviata.  For the City Opera of Hong Kong, he sang D’Estillac in La Veuve Joyeuse, the Baron Gondremarck in La Vie Parisienne, Escamillo in Carmen and Sharpless in Madama Butterfly.  At The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, he performed Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Simone in Gianni Schicchi, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas, Hinoyosa in La Péricole and the title role of Elijah.  He has also appeared as soloist in various choral performances including Dvořák’s Te Deum and Brahm’s Requiem with the Hong Kong Oratorio Society, Beethoven’s Choral Fantasy with Global Peace Orchestra.  He played the Star Bear in the annual production of Snowman and the Bear by the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong.


The presenter reserves the right to replace artists at short notice in the event of the said performer(s)’ indisposition or other unforeseen circumstances.



Tickets available from 9 August onwards at URBTIX


Ticket and Concession

Half-price tickets available for senior citizens aged 60 or above, people with disabilities and the minder, full-time students and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) recipients (Limited tickets for CSSA recipients available on a first-come-first-served basis).


‘Verdi & Wagner Year’ Package Discount

For each purchase of standard tickets for Opera: Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman, Dresdner Philharmonie (23/10 concert), Dresdner Philharmonie (24/10 concert) and Opera: Verdi’s Rigoletto: 5% off for 2 programmes; 10% off for 3 programmes; 15% off for all 4 programmes.


Group Booking Discount

10% off for each purchase of 10 – 19 standard tickets; 15% for 20 or more tickets.

Patrons can enjoy only one of the above discount schemes for each purchase.  Please inform the box office staff at the time of purchase.


Programme Length

Running time of each performance is about 2 hours and 40 minutes with 2 intermissions of 15 minutes each.

Audience are strongly advised to arrive punctually.  No latecomers will be admitted until a suitable break or the interval in the programme.



Programme Enquiries:2268 7321

Ticketing Enquiries:2734 9009

Telephone Credit Card Booking:2111 5999

Internet Booking:www.urbtix.hk


Speaker: Lo King-man


'The Creative Genius of Giuseppe Verdi'

14 December 2013 (Sat), after the matinee performance

Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall


'The Music and Libretto of Rigoletto'

15 December 2013 (Sun), after the matinee performance

Concert Hall, Hong Kong City Hall


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