After almost six decades since the inclusion of the current stage of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Rigoletto, the Bucharest National Opera (ONB) unveils on February 20 a new production of this opera, signed by the famous Australian director Stephen Barlow and by Greek artist and stage designer Yannis Thavoris. The play conducted by Cristian Sandu will take place on February 20, starting with 7 pm, with the cast including artists from the U.S., Italy, Russia, ONB soloists and guests from other Romanian cities. The new stage of Rigoletto presents the Duke as a sort of Al Capone, while Rigoletto is some sort of private entertainer of the Duke, who is involved in the business of funeral rites. The story in the original libretto takes place in Paris, in early 14th century. The composer himself was forced to move the action in Italy in the 16th century to obey the restrictions imposed by the censure. In the new stage the story takes place in Chicago in early 1929, a “flourishing” period, as the director describes the prohibition period, a world ruled by gangsters, gambling, rum-running and prostitution. “I wanted to find a different period and place to tell this story, in order to turn it contemporary, to allow the audience to identify themselves with the characters to a higher extent,” Barlow said. The play will be also performed on the ONB stage on Feb. 21, 22 and 23, March 14 and 15, as well as on April 2 and May 7.