Italian baritone Franco Vassallo makes his WNO debut in this production, as well as his role debut. He is one of Italy's leading baritones and has been acclaimed at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan; Teatro La Fenice, Venice; Teatro San Carlo, Naples; Teatro Comunale in Bologna; the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa; Teatro Comunale in Firenze; Teatro dell'Opera di Roma; and at the Arena di Verona. He has made significant international debuts at the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Semperoper Dresden, Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Zurich Opera, as well as in Bilbao, Amsterdam, Paris, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. In the fall of 2011 he returned to the Hamburg State Opera and Semperoper Dresden as Rigoletto. He sang Iago for the Zurich Opera and then sang Count di Luna in Il trovatore at the Teatro La Fenice in Venice. Vassallo subsequently returned to the Vienna State Opera in January 2012 as Iago in Otello. He will also sing Macbeth in Munich and Hamburg. Future engagements include Il trovatore and Falstaff at the Metropolitan Opera, a new production of Rigoletto in Munich, Macbeth at the Teatro alla Scala under Valery Gergiev, and Aida at the Berlin State Opera under Daniel Barenboim. He will also return to the Zurich Opera opposite Edita Gruberova in a new production of Bellini's rarely heard La straniera.