Casting update: Juan Jesús Rodríguez to replace Leo Nucci and Adela Zaharia to replace Irina Lungu in LA Opera’s Rigoletto

(Los Angeles) March 16, 2018 – LA Opera has announced two cast changes for its upcoming production of Rigoletto (May 12 through June 3, 2018).

Baritone Leo Nucci, who had been scheduled to perform the title role on May 12, 16 and 19, is curtailing his performances outside Europe and has withdrawn from the engagement. He will be replaced on those dates by Spanish baritone Juan Jesús Rodríguez. (The role will be performed by Ambrogio Maestri, as announced, on May 27, 31 and June 3.)

Soprano Irina Lungu, who had been announced to perform the role of Gilda on May 27, 31 and June 3, has withdrawn due to scheduling difficulties. On those dates, the role will now be performed by Romanian soprano Adela Zaharia. (Soprano Lisette Oropesa will perform the role of Gilda on May 12, 16 and 19, as previously announced.)

Both Mr. Rodriguez and Ms. Zaharia will be making their LA Opera debuts in Rigoletto, and this will also be Ms. Zaharia's U.S. debut.

About Juan Jesús Rodríguez
Since making his debut in 1994 in Madrid, Juan Jesús Rodríguez has performed the major baritone roles of the Italian repertoire in the most important European opera houses. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2016 as Count di Luna in Il Trovatore, returning there in 2017 as De Guiche in Cyrano de Bergerac. He will return to the Met in 2019 as Ford in Falstaff. His appearances this season include Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera in La Coruña, Germont in La Traviata and Rigoletto in Hamburg, the Duke of Nottingham in Roberto Devereux in Frankfurt and Rodrigo in Don Carlo in Tel Aviv. He has appeared in all of the major opera houses in Spain, and has also performed frequently in Italy with the opera houses of Florence, Parma, Palermo, Torino, Naples and Rome. Other major appearances include his debut in the title role of Macbeth with Opéra de Marseille and Il Trovatore in Beijing.

About Adela Zaharia
Soprano Adela Zaharia came to international attention in 2017 as the first-place winner of Operalia, where she was additionally the winner of the Pepita Embil Prize for zarzuela. Shortly after her Operalia victory, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich called upon her to replace Diana Damrau in the title role of Lucia di Lammermoor, with just two-day’s notice. Her success led to her being engaged for the leading soprano role in a new production of Haydn’s Orlando Palladino during the Munich Opera Festival in July 2018. Her schedule for the 2017/18 season also includes a number of leading roles with the Deutsche Oper am Rhein as well as Pamina in The Magic Flute with Berlin's Komische Oper. She will return to LA Opera in 2019 as Violetta in La Traviata.

LA Opera's production of Rigoletto is made possible by generous support from
GRoW @ Annenberg—special thanks to Regina and Gregory Annenberg Weingarten—and
Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco.

LA Opera is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the greater Los Angeles community.

Yamaha is the Official Piano of LA Opera.

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