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    Rigoletto

    Santa Fe Opera

    Overview

    Composer Giuseppe Verdi
    Librettist Francesco Maria Piave

    Sung in Italian

    ACT I
    At a ball at the ducal court of Mantua, the hunchbacked jester Rigoletto ridicules the courtiers cuckolded by the Duke. The Duke has his eyes set on the Countess Ceprano, but also reveals his desire for a beautiful young woman he has seen in church. Count Ceprano, Marullo, and other noblemen have heard that Rigoletto is keeping a young mistress, and begin to plot revenge against the Duke’s right-hand man. Count Monterone appeals to the Duke for the return of his dishonoured daughter, but is cruelly mocked by Rigoletto. Enraged, Monterone calls down a father's curse on the terrified jester.

    ACT II
    Outside his house, Rigoletto encounters Sparafucile, a professional assassin, but has no need of his services. At home he warmly greets his daughter, Gilda. Afraid for the girl’s safety, he warns the housekeeper, Giovanna, not to let anyone into the apartment. When Rigoletto leaves, the Duke appears and bribes Giovanna, who lets him in. He declares his love for Gilda and tells her he is a poor student. The Duke’s entourage gathers, intending to abduct Rigoletto’s “mistress.” Rigoletto appears and they tell him they are abducting the Countess Ceprano. They blindfold him and carry Gilda off, with Rigoletto’s unwitting assistance. He then discovers that his daughter is gone and collapses as he remembers Monterone’s curse.

    ACT III
    The courtiers describe their abduction of Gilda to the Duke. He is delighted to discover that she has been brought to his palace and awaits him in his bedroom. Rigoletto arrives not long after, happily singing as an attempt to disguise his anguish. The noblemen begin tormenting and mocking him. Rigoletto breaks down and confesses that Gilda is his daughter. Gilda appears and runs in shame to her father, who demands the noblemen leave. Gilda tells him of her seduction by the Duke, and Rigoletto swears revenge.

    ACT IV
    Rigoletto and Gilda travel to the outskirts of town to visit the assassin, Sparafucile. Before entering a run-down inn, Rigoletto and Gilda overhear the Duke flirting with Sprafucile's sister, Maddalena. Rigoletto instructs Gilda to disguise herself in mens clothing and escape to Verona. Rigoletto enters the inn and makes a deal with Sparafucile to kill the Duke. Infatuated with the Duke herself, Maddalena begs her brother to spare him and to murder the jester instead. Sparafucile agrees to murder the next person who walks through the door instead. Still present, Gilda overhears and decides to sacrifice her life for the Duke’s. She walks through the door and is immediately stabbed. Sparafucile wraps the lifeless body in a bag and gives it to Rigoletto. As he approaches the river, he hears the voice of the Duke in the distance. Frantically pulling the covering aside, he finds his daughter, who dies asking his forgiveness. Horrified, Rigoletto remembers Monterone’s curse.

    Synopsis

    Composer Giuseppe Verdi
    Librettist Francesco Maria Piave

    Sung in Italian

    ACT I
    At a ball at the ducal court of Mantua, the hunchbacked jester Rigoletto ridicules the courtiers cuckolded by the Duke. The Duke has his eyes set on the Countess Ceprano, but also reveals his desire for a beautiful young woman he has seen in church. Count Ceprano, Marullo, and other noblemen have heard that Rigoletto is keeping a young mistress, and begin to plot revenge against the Duke’s right-hand man. Count Monterone appeals to the Duke for the return of his dishonoured daughter, but is cruelly mocked by Rigoletto. Enraged, Monterone calls down a father's curse on the terrified jester.

    ACT II
    Outside his house, Rigoletto encounters Sparafucile, a professional assassin, but has no need of his services. At home he warmly greets his daughter, Gilda. Afraid for the girl’s safety, he warns the housekeeper, Giovanna, not to let anyone into the apartment. When Rigoletto leaves, the Duke appears and bribes Giovanna, who lets him in. He declares his love for Gilda and tells her he is a poor student. The Duke’s entourage gathers, intending to abduct Rigoletto’s “mistress.” Rigoletto appears and they tell him they are abducting the Countess Ceprano. They blindfold him and carry Gilda off, with Rigoletto’s unwitting assistance. He then discovers that his daughter is gone and collapses as he remembers Monterone’s curse.

    ACT III
    The courtiers describe their abduction of Gilda to the Duke. He is delighted to discover that she has been brought to his palace and awaits him in his bedroom. Rigoletto arrives not long after, happily singing as an attempt to disguise his anguish. The noblemen begin tormenting and mocking him. Rigoletto breaks down and confesses that Gilda is his daughter. Gilda appears and runs in shame to her father, who demands the noblemen leave. Gilda tells him of her seduction by the Duke, and Rigoletto swears revenge.

    ACT IV
    Rigoletto and Gilda travel to the outskirts of town to visit the assassin, Sparafucile. Before entering a run-down inn, Rigoletto and Gilda overhear the Duke flirting with Sprafucile's sister, Maddalena. Rigoletto instructs Gilda to disguise herself in mens clothing and escape to Verona. Rigoletto enters the inn and makes a deal with Sparafucile to kill the Duke. Infatuated with the Duke herself, Maddalena begs her brother to spare him and to murder the jester instead. Sparafucile agrees to murder the next person who walks through the door instead. Still present, Gilda overhears and decides to sacrifice her life for the Duke’s. She walks through the door and is immediately stabbed. Sparafucile wraps the lifeless body in a bag and gives it to Rigoletto. As he approaches the river, he hears the voice of the Duke in the distance. Frantically pulling the covering aside, he finds his daughter, who dies asking his forgiveness. Horrified, Rigoletto remembers Monterone’s curse.

    Artists

    • The Duke of Mantua - Stanley Kolk
    • The Duke of Mantua - George Shirley
    • Borsa - Paul Franke
    • Count Ceprano - David Hatfield
    • Countess Ceprano - Mary Alexander
    • Rigoletto - Russell Christopher
    • Marullo - Conrad Immel
    • Count Monterone - John West
    • Sparafucile - Peter Harrower
    • Gilda - Jeanette Scovotti
    • Gilda - Nadja Witkowska
    • Giovanna - Batyah (Bonnie) Godfrey
    • A Page - Janet Walker
    • Court Usher - Michael Devlin
    • Maddalena - Rosalind Hupp
    • Maddalena - Marlena Kleinman
    • Conductor - John Crosby
    • Director - Bliss Hebert
    • Scenic Designer - John Braden
    • Costume Designer - Henry Heymann
    • Lighting Designer - Georg Schreiber
    • Choreographer - Ron Sequoio
    • Chorus Master - John Moriarty