The New Jersey Association of Verismo Opera announces tenor Raúl Melo, a guest artist at the Metropolitan Opera for nine seasons, will premiere with the company and perform the role of Radames in AIDA.  Verismo Opera will present Giuseppe Verdi’s masterful work on April 23, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, New Jersey.

Raúl Melo

Raúl MelMetropolitan Opera Radio live broadcast as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. His repertoire includes roles from Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini’s operas: Carlo in Don Carlo, Rodolfo in Luisa Miller, Alvaro in La Forza Del Destino, des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla Del West, and Calàf in Turandot.

Melo debuted with the Metropolitan Opera in 2005 as Duca in Rigoletto and was heard in the 2008 Sirius Metropolitan Opera Radio live broadcast as Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly. His repertoire includes roles from Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini’s operas: Carlo in Don Carlo, Rodolfo in Luisa Miller, Alvaro in La Forza Del Destino, des Grieux in Manon Lescaut, Cavaradossi in Tosca, Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla Del West, and Calàf in Turandot. He has performed worldwide. In North America, Melo has sung with several opera companies, including New York City Opera, Amarillo Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, Manitoba Opera, and Opéra de Québec. He has also appeared at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Grand Théâtre de Reims, Teatro Verdi di Salerno and many others. Born in Havana, Cuba, Melo resides in New York City.

Verismo Opera presents this epic story of a bitter love triangle set in ancient Egypt. Under Artistic Director Lucine Amara, one of the Metropolitan Opera’s finest performers and interpreters of Aida, and Stage Director, General Manager and teacher Evelyn La Quaif, Verismo Opera brings this epic, dramatic love story to the stage with great pageantry, opulence and a large cast in full costume singing in Italian with English supertitles provided.

The renowned, late designer Camillo Parravicini created the traditional sets depicting ancient Egypt. Principal Conductor and Music Director, Maestra Lucy Arner, conducts the Verismo Opera Orchestra, with Chorus Director Michael Wittenburg leading the Verismo Opera Chorus. Sung in Italian with English supertitles, the opera is presented in four acts. Antonio Ghislanzoni’s libretto tells a tragic story of love, jealousy, and revenge using traditional, elaborate staging.

“Having sung the role of Aida 36 times at the Metropolitan Opera and throughout the world, this production spotlights powerful personal relationships that are played out before the audience’s eyes — the passion between Aida and Radames and the fear and longing between Amneris and Radames. While other productions are presented with two-dimensional characters, Verismo Opera’s rendition brings to the stage REAL characters,” said Lucine Amara. 

AIDA Cast

Seasoned and up-and-coming performers comprise the cast. Soprano Rosa D’Imperio debuts with Verismo Opera as Aida, a role she performed with Opera Tampa, New Rochelle Opera, Teatro de la Opera-Opera de Puerto Rico and Teatro Lirico D’Europa. “Rosa D’Imperio made a compelling Aida, with a fluid range and impressive dramatic communication…” –Daniel Schlosberg, New York Daily News

Originally from the Ukraine, mezzo-soprano Galina Ivannikova debuted with Verismo Opera in 2011 to perform Amneris in AIDA and will assume that role again in the 2017 production. Bass Stephan Kirchgraber, who appeared in 2016 as Count Monterone in Rigoletto, appears as the King of Egypt. Tenor Giovanni Simone, who has has played various supporting roles such as Matteo Borsa in Rigoletto and Isepo in La Gioconda, will join the cast in AIDA as the Messenger.

The company welcomes newcomers Fredrick Redd as Amonasro, Isaac Grier as Ramphis, and Rachel Hippert as the Priestess. Art of Motion Dance Company and Dance Theatre of New Jersey debut with Verismo Opera in this new production of AIDA.

The complete cast appears in period costumes designed by Costume Designer/Wardrobe Director Barbara Konig and Costume Consultant Catherine Mirabella. Jeromy Hunt and Adam Greene return to the company as Stage Manager and Lighting Director, respectively.

Tickets may be purchased in person at bergenPAC’s box office, located at 30 North Van Brunt Street, Englewood, New Jersey, by calling (201) 227-1030 or toll-free at 1-888-PACSHOW, or online.

The season is made possible, in part, with funds provided by the New Jersey Council on the Arts/Department of State, through grant funds administered by the Bergen County Department of Parks, Division of Cultural and Historic Affairs. Other supporters include Children’s Aid Foundation, Robert J. Campbell, MD, Cesare L. Santeramo, KSJ, Paul Weiss Matching Fund, The Gerda Lissner Foundation, Inc., and Vanguard Charitable Endowment Fund.