Teatro Comunale in Bologna will open the 2003 season with a new production of Un Ballo in Maschera by Verdi (19-31 Jan). The direction, stage sets, costumes and lighting will all be by Denis Krief, a director whose productions always cause a stir but which are carefully thought out and never banal. The part of Riccardo, one of the most difficult tenor roles but undoubtedly one of the most beautiful in the Verdi repertoire, will be played by Ramon Vargas, a Mexican tenor who is popular in Italy. His unhappy lover will be Daniela Dess, the soprano from Genoa who has become a fixture on the Italian stage.

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