Lyric Opera of Chicago

Bass Raymond Aceto to portray Ramfis in January-February performances of AIDA

Press Release Letterhead
Monday, December 12, 2011

American bass Raymond Aceto to portray Ramfis
in January-February performances of Verdi’s AIDA 
at Lyric Opera of Chicago, replacing Štefan Kocán,
who will sing the March performances as scheduled

American bass Raymond Aceto will portray Ramfis in the first six performances of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s upcoming revival of Verdi’s Aida, Lyric’s general director Anthony Freud announced today. He sang the role here previously in 2004-05.

For performances from Jan. 21 through Feb. 8, Aceto replaces Slovakian bass Štefan Kocán, who asked to withdraw from the first six performances for personal reasons. Kocán will sing the remaining six performances in March as scheduled.

Raymond Aceto portrayed the boisterous monk Varlaam in Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov at Lyric earlier this season. He has sung ten roles previously at Lyric, most recently Count Des Grieux/Manon (2008-09); Fafner/Ring cycle, (2004-05) and Fafner/Siegfried (2003-04).

This season also includes portrayals of Timur/Turandot at San Francisco Opera; Sarastro/The Magic Flute at The Dallas Opera; and  Scarpia/Tosca at Santa Fe Opera.

Aceto has won praise at the major houses of Vienna (Carmen), Berlin (Aida, Simon Boccanegra, Lucia di Lammermoor), Madrid (Il trovatore), Verona (Carmen, Aida, and, earlier this year, Nabucco), Amsterdam (Rigoletto), and Brussels (I due Foscari). He has become a favorite at Covent Garden with appearances in The Barber of Seville, Rigoletto, Il trovatore, The Pearl Fishers, and most recently Macbeth. Aceto scored a great success last year as Hunding/Die Walküre at San Francisco Opera. He has also been featured at the Metropolitan Opera and the major companies of Houston (where he sang his first Scarpia last year), Los Angeles, Dallas, San Diego, Toronto, and Montreal. Concert repertoire has brought him to the major orchestras of San Francisco, Cleveland, Boston, and St. Louis, among others.

AIDA / Giuseppe Verdi   (in Italian with projected English translations)

12 performances beginning at 7:30 p.m., except for matinees at 2:00 p.m.

Jan. 21, 25, 28, 31, Feb. 3 (mat), 8 (mat), Mar. 6, 10, 15 (mat), 19, 22, 25 (mat) 

In the exotic and mysterious setting of ancient Egypt, Verdi and his librettist, Antonio Ghislanzoni, created a powerfully dramatic love triangle between the captive Ethiopian princess Aida (sopranos Sondra Radvanovsky and Hui He, debut); Radames, captain of the Pharaoh’s army (tenors Marcello Giordani and Salvatore Licitra), who loves Aida and is loved by her; and Pharaoh’s daughter, the jealous and manipulative princess Amneris (mezzo sopranos Jill Grove and Anna Smirnova, debut). Tragic events are set in motion after Aida’s father, the Ethiopian king Amonasro (baritones Gordon Hawkins and Quinn Kelsey), after being captured by Radames, asks his daughter to escape with him and she persuades Radames to join her. Also in the cast are basses Raymond Aceto and  Štefan Kocán as the implacable high priest Ramfis.

Renato Palumbo will conduct. The original production by Nicolas Joël is being remounted by stage director Matthew Lata. The set and costume designer is Pet Halmen, the lighting designer is Jason Brown, and the choreographer is Kenneth von Heidecke.

The I. A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation Production. The revival of Aida is generously made possible by Mr. and Mrs. J. Thomas Hurvis.