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Left to right: Amy Cofield and Dae San No star in the Lyric Opera's production of RigolettoCourtesy photo
When the Lyric Opera of San Antonio opens its seventh performance season, you can expect a dramatic debut. There will be thrills of distress, despair, vengeance, violence, and death. It's tragic, really. Legs will be broken. The house will come down. But such is opera.

To kick off a season program that includes Gaetano Donizetti's Don Pasquale and Geroges Bizet's Carmen, the Lyric Opera presents Giuseppe Verdi's classic work, Rigoletto. The ensemble cast includes Daisan No and Chen Ye Yuan in the title role, Amy Cofield as Gilda, Neil Harrelson as the Duke, and will feature the San Antonio Choral Society and the Lyric Opera Orchestra, comprised of San Antonio Symphony musicians.

7:30pm Friday, August 22 & Saturday, August 23
3pm Sunday, August 24
McAllister Auditorium
San Antonio College
1300 San Pedro
225-5972 (Lyric Opera box office)

7pm Thursday, August 21
$20-25 at the door
Plaza Club
Frost Bank Building
100 W. Houston
"It's a beautiful time," says Lyric Opera founding director Mark Richter of the weeks preceding the performance. "These people who don't know each other from Adam come together for a 17-day rehearsal period. It's not a natural thing, but all the different personalities come together as one voice: opera. And that's the beauty, the power of the arts."

Rigoletto will be staged at San Antonio College's McAllister Auditorium, an accommodating 1,000-seat house. The rich production is enhanced by Lyric Opera receptions, including Opera Enrichment Night at the Plaza Club (on the top floor of the Frost Bank Building downtown) on the Thursday before opening night, giving audience members a chance to meet the cast and directors while learning about the opera. A champagne and dessert reception follows the opening night performance, a wine and cheese reception follows on Saturday night, and the Sunday matinee features a pre-opera luncheon at Capparelli's on Main.

"Rigoletto is a sexy production, and opera is an experience," says Richter. "We put the magic together so people can escape everyday life." •

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