Opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
based on the work by Victor Hugo "The Sports King"
Original version in Italian with subtitles (optional)
Conductor : Martin Mázik
Artistic Director and Stage Manager : Roberta Mattelli
Scenography : Alfredo Troisi
Costumes : Sartoria Arrigo (Milano – Italy)
Shoes : Calzature di Epoca (Milano – Italy)
Wigs : Mario Audello (Milano – Italy)
Giulio BOSCHETTI, Lucian PETREAN, Paolo RUGGIERO
Sonia Bellugi, Pauline ROUILLARD
DUQUE DE MANTUA, tenor
David BAÑOS, Alex TSILOGIANNIS, Juan Carlos VALLS
CONDE DE MONTERONE, barítone
CONDE DE CEPRANO, bass
* This cast can suffer changes the day of the performance, not foreseen on the moment of publishing this information.
In the fourteenth century Mantua’s court
At a hall of the ducal palace.
Laughter and music are heard in the background. The Duke and Borsa come on stage. They speak of an unknown young woman he has seen at church. This is Gilda, daughter of Rigoletto the hunchback. The Duke is looking forward to meet her. Meanwhile, he meets with Countess Ceprano who he is openly courting despite of her husband’s presence. He always does what he wants without worrying about anyone else. For him, anyway, all women are the same “Questa or quella per me pari sono”. The music is as light as the Duke’s character. Rigoletto arrives and mocks Count Ceprano while he watches his wife leave arm in arm with the Duke. Marullo announces to everyone that Rigoletto has a mistress. Count Ceprano pretends to take revenge the next night for all the taunts he had to endure from the hunchback. The music, very happy, is suddenly interrupted by the voice of Count Monterone who openly accuses the Duke of dishonouring his daughter. The Duke of Mantoue orders his arrest. Rigoletto mocks him cruelly. Count Monterone curses him. Here arises the main theme of the play, “the curse”, which was going to be the play it’s title at first.
At the street where Rigoletto lives.
Returning home at night, Rigoletto remembers Monterone’s curse. He is concerned. He meets Sparafucile, a hitman, who offers him his services. Alone, Rigoletto thinks about how similar they are; one uses words as a weapon, while the other uses a dagger. The thought of the curse keeps him obsessed and does not leave him, even when his daughter receives him at her doorstep affectionately. His father tells her to be careful; she reassures him. She is only leaves to go to church. Rigoletto insists to her maid Giovanna to watch her carefully. There is a noise outside, and he rushes to the door. The Duke disguised as a student, managing to avoid Giovanna, awaits hidden. Rigoletto says goodbye to his daughter and repeats his recommendations to the maid. The Duke comes out of hiding, falling to Gilda’s feet to declare his love. Gilda listens in wonder.
After the Duke leaves, the nobles arrive for their revenge. They want to kidnap the woman who they think is Rigoletto’s mistress. He appears. They explain that are going to kidnap Countess Ceprano and to convince him they show the key they possess. Rigoletto accepts to help. Marullo puts on a mask. Rigoletto will this way participate on the kidnapping of his own daughter. Once alone, Rigoletto removes his mask, as he sees her door open wide: “Ah, la maledizione!”
A hall of the ducal palace.
The Duke grumbles about not meeting Gilda at home. His courtiers tell the story of the kidnapping; they have taken the girl to the palace. The Duke quickly learns that this is the same girl; He hurries up to meet her. Then Rigoletto comes in; looking for his daughter. The courtiers wickedly tease him. “Cortigiani vile dannata razza”. A door opens: Gilda rushes into the arms of his father. Now they are alone. Gilda tells him everything; his father tries to comfort her. Count Monterone comes in, escorted by his guards who lead him to prison where he will be executed. Rigoletto thinks about the curse. He swears to avenge his daughter.
An isolated tavern, at the edge of the river, at night
Sparafucile lives here with his sister Magdalena, whose role is to attract men to steal from or even kill them. Rigoletto and Gilda are outside. Rigoletto wants to show to her daughter the real face of the Duke. Disguised as a soldier, the Duke tries to seduce Magdalena who pretends to refuse him. It is the famous quartet: “Bella figlia dell’amore, schiavo son de’ vezzi tuoi..”
The Duke begs the love of beautiful girl who answers laughing. Gilda is desperate: she hears the exact same words of love only this time they are not meant for her. As for Rigoletto, he only thinks about revenge.
Sparafucile leaves the tavern to meet with Rigoletto who gives him half of the agreed payment for the murder of the Duke. Figuring that he has convinced his daughter of the Duke ‘s bad faith, he begs her to leave Verona, disguised as a man as a precaution.
The storm begins. Magdalena begs his brother to forgive the Duke. Sparafucile accepts to give him one last chance. If someone comes to the tavern before midnight, he will take the place in the bag intended for the Duke. Gilda, who had approached him, hears it all. She decides to sacrifice herself. She knocks on the door; a cry is heard; then it is quiet again.
The storm is over. Rigoletto comes for the bag and pays Sparafucile what he owes him. He walk away, his revenge achieved. Suddenly he stops. The voice of the Duke singing in the distance is heard: “La donna è mobile...”.Terrified, Rigoletto opens the sack and discovers his dying daughter. The theme of the curse resonates for the last time.