Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Rigoletto 101 – Characters and Plot

By: Suzanne Whitney & Bethany Wooden

The 2022-23 Season marks 4 a long time of songs and tales at Opera Colorado. We’re kicking off our fortieth Anniversary Season with an Italian traditional! Rigoletto is likely one of the archetypal operas for a cause. It options a few of opera’s most-frequent tropes, like seduction, mistaken identities, and revenge gone unsuitable, alongside unforgettable music from Gilda’s glowing and harmless “Caro nome” to the Duke of Mantua’s immediately recognizable “La donna è cell.” Whether or not you come for the music or the drama, Verdi’s masterpiece has one thing for everybody.

In November of 2022, Opera Colorado will current a grand and traditional manufacturing of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Earlier than you head to the opera home, take a while to get to know the plot and our manufacturing!

As a part of its fortieth Anniversary Season, Opera Colorado presents Rigoletto November 5-13. Tickets are on sale now, beginning at simply $39>>


The Creators of Rigoletto

Composer – Giuseppe Verdi (October 1813 – January 1901)

Librettist – Francesco Maria Piave (Might 1810 – March 1876)

Supply Materials – Le roi s’amuse, a play written by Victor Hugo (February 1802 – Might 1885)

The Characters of Rigoletto

Rigoletto (baritone) – The duke’s jester and father to Gilda. Performed by Stephen Powell, making his Opera Colorado debut.

Gilda (soprano) – A younger lady not too long ago returned from a convent college and Rigoletto’s daughter. Performed by Sharleen Joynt, making her Opera Colorado debut. 

Duke of Mantua (tenor) – The hedonistic and unscrupulous ruler of Mantua. Performed by Joshua Dennis, making his Opera Colorado debut.

Sparafucile (bass) – An murderer and brother to Maddalena. Performed by Christian Zaremba, making his Opera Colorado debut.

Maddalena (mezzo-soprano) – A tavern employee, prostitute, and sister to Sparafucile. Performed by Sandra Piques Eddy, who returns to Opera Colorado after enjoying Meg Web page in Falstaff in 2018 and the title function in Carmen in 2014.

The Plot of Rigoletto

Rigoletto—Act I, scene 1

A grand room within the Duke of Mantua’s palace the place the duke is giving a ball.

The Duke of Mantua enters together with his courtier Borsa. The Duke tells Borsa of a stunning younger lady he has seen, who solely leaves her home to attend providers at church. The Duke has decided to woo her, and plans to hunt her out this very night time.

Whereas they’re speaking, the duke spies a ravishing lady on the ball, the Countess Ceprano, spouse of the Rely of Ceprano. Earlier than the countess can depart together with her husband, the duke instructions her to remain and declares his love for her. Rigoletto, the duke’s jester, laughs at Ceprano’s predicament and urges the duke to homicide the countess’ husband so the duke can have her for himself. Ceprano overhears Rigoletto plotting his homicide and vows revenge, promising to show Rigoletto a lesson he’ll always remember!

In the meantime, the duke’s courtiers imagine they’ve found Rigoletto’s secret—the jester has a mistress! The courtiers have all been targets of Rigoletto’s mockery at one time or one other and agree to help Ceprano together with his revenge.

Out of the blue, the Rely of Monterone barges into the palace in a rage. Monterone cries out for justice for his daughter, whom the duke seduced after which deserted. Rigoletto ridicules Monterone, mocks his grief. Enraged, Monterone rebukes the duke for preying on him in his previous age, shames Rigoletto for deriding the tears of a father, and ends by cursing Rigoletto and the duke. Rigoletto is shaken, however the duke declares the curse is nugatory and sentences Monterone to dying.

Rigoletto—Act I, scene 2

The courtyard of Rigoletto’s home and a close-by road

As Rigoletto walks dwelling later that night time, he worries about Monterone’s curse. Close to his dwelling, Rigoletto meets a mysterious man with a sword—an murderer for rent named Sparafucile. The murderer presents his providers, however Rigoletto refuses. As Sparafucile leaves, Rigoletto sings the well-known aria “Pari siamo!” (“We’re equals!”), declaring how he and the murderer are related in character; Sparafucile stabs males with swords and Rigoletto stabs them with phrases. Rigoletto laments the vileness he spews for the amusement of the court docket.

As Rigoletto enters the courtyard of his home, his daughter Gilda runs to fulfill him. She has not too long ago returned dwelling after ending her training at a convent, the place Rigoletto despatched her after her mom’s dying. Gilda solely is aware of Rigoletto as “father,” and asks him to disclose his identify. Rigoletto refuses, telling her he’s hated and has many enemies. Gilda is the one individual on this planet who loves him.

Gilda’s questions renew Rigoletto’s worry that the duke’s courtiers will kidnap her to actual revenge. He requires Gilda’s guardian, Giovanna, who assures him she is at all times on guard. Simply then, Rigoletto hears somebody on the street. When he goes to examine, the duke, disguised as a commoner, sneaks into the courtyard. He tosses Giovanna a bag of cash to make sure her silence.

The duke has come to woo Gilda, the stunning lady he has seen at church. As he hides, the duke learns that Gilda is Rigoletto’s daughter! Rigoletto leaves, unaware the duke is within the courtyard with Gilda. The duke emerges from his hiding place and declares his love for Gilda however tells her he’s a poor pupil named Gualtier Maldè. Unaware of his duplicitous character, Gilda pledges her like to the duke, promising to be his endlessly.

Out of the blue, they hear somebody coming. The duke flees, pondering it’s Rigoletto, however the sound is absolutely the duke’s courtiers, come to kidnap Gilda, whom they mistakenly imagine is Rigoletto’s mistress. After the duke has fled, Gilda sings her well-known aria “Caro nome” (“Candy identify”), praising the identify of her beloved, ignorant that the identify she worships is an alias the duke has used to deceive her.

Take a look at a preview of our Gilda, Sharleen Joynt, performing the well-known cadenza from “Caro nome” with Edmonton Opera.>>

Outdoors the courtyard, Rigoletto arrives simply because the courtiers are about to climb over the wall. The courtiers trick Rigoletto into becoming a member of them, saying they’re enjoying a joke on Ceprano. They provide Rigoletto a masks to put on, however, at nighttime, he doesn’t notice it’s actually a blindfold. Whereas Rigoletto steadies the ladder, the courtiers kidnap Gilda. Realizing one thing is unsuitable, Rigoletto tears off his masks and sees Gilda’s scarf on the bottom. Monterone’s curse has come true—Rigoletto has misplaced his daughter to his enemies!

Rigoletto—Act II

A drawing room within the Duke of Mantua’s palace.

The duke worries about Gilda’s destiny and vows to search out who has taken her. Simply then, the courtiers enter, laughing about how they’ve kidnapped Rigoletto’s mistress and introduced her to the palace. The duke realizes they’re those who’ve taken Gilda. Delighted she has been discovered and, even higher, delivered to his palace, the duke leaves to seduce Gilda.

Rigoletto enters and begs the courtiers to return his daughter, however they refuse. Gilda then enters, weeping as a result of the duke has dishonored her. As father and daughter mourn, troopers enter, escorting Monterone to his execution. Monterone expresses sorrow that he was unable to enact revenge on the duke. Gilda begs her father to forgive the duke, however Rigoletto vows to kill him.

Rigoletto—Act III

A dilapidated inn on the financial institution of the Mincio river on the outskirts of Mantua

Rigoletto tries to persuade Gilda that he ought to kill the duke, however Gilda pleads together with her father to forgive him. Decided to persuade Gilda the duke is fake, Rigoletto takes her to a dilapidated inn on the banks of the Mincio river, the place Sparafucile, the murderer, lives together with his sister Maddalena. The siblings use the inn to lure wayward vacationers, whom they rob and homicide.

Rigoletto and Gilda see the duke enter and flirt with Maddalena. Gilda’s coronary heart is damaged as she hears the duke promise Maddalena the identical love and constancy he as soon as promised her.

Rigoletto sends Gilda dwelling, telling her to disguise herself as a person and flee to Verona, the place he’ll meet her later. He then pays Sparafucile to homicide the duke, arranging to return at midnight to throw the duke’s physique into the river personally.

After the duke falls asleep, Maddalena argues together with her brother; she has fallen for the duke’s charms and doesn’t wish to kill him. Gilda, who has returned disguised as a person, overhears their dialog. She hears the siblings comply with kill any stranger who enters the inn and place the stranger’s physique in a sack, which they may then give to Rigoletto, telling him it’s the physique of the duke. Maddalena agrees to the plan, however worries nobody will come, since a violent storm is approaching. Summoning her braveness, Gilda knocks on the door, decided to present her life rather than the duke’s. Maddalena opens the door, and lightning flashes as Gilda meets her dying.

The storm diminishes, and Rigoletto enters to assert the duke’s corpse. Rigoletto offers Sparafucile the remainder of his price and carries the shrouded physique to the river, rejoicing in his victory over the duke. Simply as he’s about to heave the corpse into the river, Rigoletto hears a voice singing. It’s the duke!

Tearing the sack open, Rigoletto sees Gilda, who revives lengthy sufficient to disclose what has occurred. Crying out in despair, Rigoletto realizes Monterone’s curse has come to fruition—his actions have murdered his personal daughter!

Synopsis by Bethany Wooden, Ph.D.—Opera Colorado’s Supervisor of Training & Neighborhood Engagement.


In the event you made it by way of this complete publish, you should get pleasure from among the music from this masterpiece! Expertise Opera Colorado’s manufacturing of Rigoletto November 5-13! Tickets begin at simply $39>>



What’s your favourite second in Rigoletto? Is there something you might be dying to know in regards to the opera or our manufacturing? Tell us within the feedback under!




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