Rigoletto, opera in three acts by Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave) that premiered at La Fenice opera house in Venice on March 11, 1851. Based closely on the controversial 1832 play Le Roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself; also performed in English as The King’s Fool) by Victor Hugo, Verdi’s opera was nearly kept off the stage by censors. With Rigoletto, Verdi reached a new level in his career; his next two operas, Il trovatore and La traviata, exhibit comparable artistry. Each of the three remains a staple of the operatic repertoire. The opera’s best-known aria is “La donna è mobile,” in which the womanizing Duke of Mantua muses upon the fickleness of women.
Giuseppe Verdi Rigoletto Act 1 In the 16th century, in Mantova, Italy, in the house of the Duke who is lubricious, a daughter of Count Monterone fell for the Duke’s sweet talk. The Count was angry with the Duke. Rigoletto, who is a clown and the Duke’s retainer, makes Count Monterone a laughing stock. The Count says to Rigoletto, “You have a laugh about father’s torment. You’ll be damned.” Rigoletto is upset by Monterone’s curse, because he has a secret daughter. Unfortunately, Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, has already met with the Duke at the church. The Duke tells a lie to Gilda, he pretends to be a poor student. Gilda falls in love with him. Then, the Duke’s subordinates kidnap Gilda for their boss Act 2 Rigoletto finds out that his daughter is kidnapped. When Rigoletto goes to the Duke’s house, he bumps into his daughter there. Gilda explains to her father that she has really fallen in love, but strangers forced her to go to the Duke yesterday, and she was insulted by him. Rigoletto is angry with the Duke, and so decides to kill him. Act 3 In a seedy pub in the suburbs, the Duke attempts to seduce Maddalena who is a sister of the manager, Sparafucile. Rigoletto requests Sparafucile to kill the Duke for a large sum of money. Sparafucile attempts to kill the Duke, but Maddalena stops him, because she has also fallen in love with the Duke. Sparafucile tells her that he has already received money, so he needs a substitute. Gilda has heard this talk between Sparafucile and Maddalena. Gilda makes up her mind to become his substitute. Rigoletto receives a bag from Sparafucile, being told it is the Duke’s body. Rigoletto checks the body and finds it is his daughter’s body. He is shocked and disappointed. The curse has been realized. ROLESRigoletto, the Duke's jester, baritone – Andrea CarnevaleGilda, his daughter, soprano – Mariangela CafaroDuke of Mantua, tenore – Andrea VillaSparafucile, an assassin, bass – Donato MartiniMaddalena, his sister, contralto – Olivia AndreiniGiovanna, Gilda's Nurse, mezzo-soprano – Elisabetta BasiricoMatteo Borsa, a courtier, tenor – Delfo PaoneCount Monterone, baritone – Giuseppe MilliMarullo, baritone – Enrico PaolettiChoirmaster – Marcello Mattucci Artistic Director and costumes – Minea De Mattia Strings and wind orchestra and piano