Giuseppe Verdi

Performances on July 26, 28, 30, August 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13

RigolettoNew production
Opera in three acts
Sung in Italian with English surtitles
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo

This new production of Verdi’s mesmerising, horrifying and painfully moving opera is a mouth watering prospect for OHP audiences. A father’s suffocating love for his daughter has tragic consequences and it is no less powerful a piece for having an almost constant presence on the world’s opera stages. With aria after aria that seem to define the art form itself, Rigoletto is an essential visit.


Read the synopsis....

Act One
The Duke is boasting to his courtiers about his conquests and leads the latest, Countess Ceprano, to a private chamber whilst his hunchbacked jester, Rigoletto makes fun of her husband. Marullo announces the suspicions around Rigoletto having a mistress and Count Ceprano conspires with the courtiers to punish Rigoletto. Monterone enters to condemn the Duke for having seduced his daughter, but he is placed under arrest and scorned by Rigoletto. He utters a curse on both Rigoletto and the Duke.

At home Rigoletto is greeted by his daughter, Gilda, whom he keeps hidden away. He reminisces about his late wife and demands Giovanna, the governess, to admit noone into the house; he has been frightened by Monterone’s curse. When Rigoletto has left, the Duke slips into their garden and silences Giovanna with money. He tells Gilda he is a poor student called Gualtier Maldè and that he is in love with her, rushing away when he hears approaching footsteps. Rigoletto is stopped by the courtiers outside his house who ask him to help abduct Countess Ceprano. He is fooled into wearing a blindfold and holding a ladder against his own wall whilst the courtiers break into his home and kidnap Gilda instead.

Act Two
The Duke is deeply upset about Gilda’s disappearance and rushes to see her when the courtiers inform him it was they who took her. Rigoletto enters looking for Gilda; the courtiers are shocked to hear she is actually his daughter and not his mistress as they had thought. Rigoletto condemns them and embraces Gilda. Monterone is sent to the dungeon and Rigoletto vows to avenge both Monterone and the Duke.

Act Three
Outside Sparafucile’s place Rigoletto and Gilda watch the Duke flirt with Sparafucile’s sister, Maddalena. Rigoletto sends his daughter off to disguise herself as a boy for her escape and then pays Sparafucile to kill the Duke. Gilda returns and hears Maddalena persuade her brother to kill not the Duke but the first person who walks into his inn. Despite his betrayal, Gilda sacrifices herself for the Duke and enters the inn. Rigoletto claims the body in a sack and gloats only to hear the Duke in the distance. Anxiously he cuts the sack open and finds Gilda who dies asking for his forgiveness.

> Read about the other operas this season

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