Caption: Dawn Burns (Studio Programme) Dafydd Williams (General Manager) and Judith Weimers (Dramaturg) from Northern Ireland Opera announcing their glamorous, red carpet Charity Gala Performance of Rigoletto on Sunday 30th September in support of Inspire and the NI Hospice. Tickets are available from the Grand Opera House at goh.co.uk.


NI Opera’s next production, in co-operation with the Opera Nacional de Chile, will be RIGOLETTO by Giuseppe Verdi, showcasing opera’s greatest hits La Donna è Mobile and Caro Nome.

Recognised as one of the world’s best loved operas, Rigoletto has a broad appeal. It features multi-award winning Verdi Baritone Sebastian Catana, in his UK debut, stars as Rigoletto, with Cardiff Singer of the World Nadine Koutcher as Gilda and Davide Giusti, winner at Placido Domingo’s Operalia World Opera Competition 2017, as the Duke of Mantua.

Featuring the Chorus of Northern Ireland Opera and the Ulster Orchestra conducted by Gareth Hancock, this production is designed by Kaspar Glarner and directed by Northern Ireland Opera Artistic Director Walter Sutcliffe.

Walter commented: “Rigoletto is one of the wonders of the world. Forget Wagner. Forget the Pyramids. This is the piece that takes our potential for darkness, negativity, self-absorption and blind idiocy and immerses it in a sound world that pushes our deepest emotional buttons. It throws us down a tunnel to give us one of the purest experiences of the power of musical drama.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added, “Northern Ireland Opera is one of our best artistic companies whose critically-acclaimed work truly champions the exceptional quality of the arts sector here regionally, nationally and internationally.  The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support this production of Rigoletto, through National Lottery and public funding, which showcases the immense talents of many our local singers performing alongside internationally renowned greats. Unmissable!””

Not only will this production of Rigoletto present a level of operatic artistry previously unseen in Northern Ireland, it will also drive Northern Ireland Opera’s initiative to develop local singers. The opera offers opportunities for a Belfast-based chorus and has many roles that will be filled with Northern Irish singers for whom the opportunity to share a stage and learn from bona fide world stars will be a unique experience. Meanwhile in addition to audiences, 4,000 people will be involved in the access, outreach and development initiatives during the first week of the project.


Dawn Burns (Studio Programme) Dafydd Williams (General Manager) and Judith Weimers (Dramaturg) from Northern Ireland Opera announcing their glamorous, red carpet Charity Gala Performance of Rigoletto on Sunday 30th September in support of Inspire and the NI Hospice. 

Richard Wigley, Managing Director of the Ulster Orchestra, commented:

“We are very pleased to be collaborating again with Northern Ireland Opera; and in Rigoletto, one of the great scores of the repertoire. Walter is building a fantastic energy at the company and it is a thrill for us to be part of this new era.”

Rigoletto will open with a Charity Gala Performance on September 30 in aid of Inspire and NI Hospice. Premium tickets will include admission to a champagne and supper post-show reception; a limited number of reception tickets will also be available for other ticket holders to purchase.


Sun 30 September 2018 – Sat 06 October 2018

Times: Sun 6pm (Charity Gala), Tue – Sat 7.30pm

Tickets available from goh.co.uk.

Walter Sutcliffe Biography

Walter Sutcliffe has directed highly acclaimed opera and theatre productions internationally and has been Artistic Director of Northern Ireland Opera since January 2017. His production of

Tiefland for Opera Toulouse was nominated by French magazine Forum Opera as best international production 2017. His productions for Opera Frankfurt of L’Orontea and Owen Wingrave were nominated in German magazine Opernwelt in 2015 and 2010 respectively, and his production of Così fan tutte won Best Design and Best Female Performer at the Estonian Theatre Awards 2009.

Opera productions include Tiefland (Theatre du Capitôle, Toulouse), Rigoletto (Il Municipal,  Santiago di Chile), Otello (Teatro Regio, Torino), The Turn of the Screw (Theatre du Capitole, Toulouse),  L’Orontea, Owen Wingrave and Ghost Sonata (Oper Frankfurt), Le Grand Macabre and Der Zwerg (Theater Chemnitz), La traviata and Luisa Miller (Braunschweig), Kiss me Kate and Werther (Magdeburg),

Manon Lescaut, Don Giovanni and Orpheus in the Underworld (Osnabrueck), Zar und Zimmerman (Bremerhaven), Die Fledermaus (Halberstadt), Albert Herring (Landestheater Linz), Così fan tutte and

Carmen (Estonian National Opera, Tallinn), Tippett’s The Knot Garden (Klangbogen Festival, Vienna), and Janacek’s Sarka (Dicapo Opera New York). Theatre work includes Strindberg’s The Great Highway (Gate Theatre, London), Fry’s The Lady’s not for Burning (Finborough Theatre, London) and Stravinsky’s

The Soldier’s Tale (BAC, London). Recent productions include The Threepenny Opera and Rigoletto in Belfast, Agrippina at the Grange Festival, UK and Rodrigo for the Handel International Opera Festival Goettingen.

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