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Verdi, G. (1813-1901)


Rigoletto





Composed 1850-1851.
First performed March 11, 1851.
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave (in Itarian),
after Hugo.




A Summary of gRigolettoh



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 Dukefs sweet talk. The Count was angry with the Duke. Rigoletto, who is a clown and the Dukefs retainer, makes Count Monterone a laughing stock. The Count says to Rigoletto, gYou have a laugh about fatherfs torment. Youfll be damned.h Rigoletto is upset by Monteronefs curse, because he has a secret daughter.
Unfortunately, Rigolettofs 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 Dukefs subordinates kidnap Gilda for their boss

Act 2
Rigoletto finds out that his daughter is kidnapped. When Rigoletto goes to the Dukefs 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 Dukefs body. Rigoletto checks the body and finds it is his daughterfs body. He is shocked and disappointed. The curse has been realized.




A Comment on gRigolettoh



The original of this operafs libretto is Victor Hugofs play gLe roi s'amuse (The King Amuses Himself).h Hugofs play depicts the King of France at the time, and the play is then banned from after only one performance. When Giuseppe Verdi composed this opera based on Hugofs play, he transformed the scene from France to Italy, and the character from the King to aristocracy. This opera gRigolettoh succeeded, and gained popularity. That resulted in Verdi obtaining the status of a great opera composer.

In this opera, there are some famous arias, for example, gCortigiani, vil razza dannata (Accursed race of courtiers)h by Rigoletto in act 2 and gGualtier Malde!... Caro nome (Dearest name)h by Gilda in act 1. In addition, the aria that you wonft forget is gLa donna e mobile (Woman is fickle)h by the Duke in act 3. This aria is a great match for the Duke, who is a womanizer.

Verdi composed this opera of which the original has some expression like kidnapping, sexual assault, and murder. Verdi realized successful composition included such various expressions. And, a good balance of singers appear on the stage, Soprano(Gilda), Mezzo Soprano(Maddalena), Tenor(the Duke), Britone(Rigoletto), Bass(Sparafucile). This balance of singers is very effective. For example, the quartet gUn di, se ben rammentomi... Bella figlia dell'amore (One day, if I remember rightly... Beautiful daughter of love)h is one of the most outstanding and famous quartets in the opera world.





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