Verdi's distinguished opera returning to Teatru Astra Print E-mail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

rigoletto poster 2023

Rigoletto: Verdi's distinguished three act opera composed in forty days in 1851. Based on Francesco Maria Piave's libretto after Hugo's Le Roi s'Amuse, it premiered at La Fenice in Venice on the 11th March 1851 as a tour de force of Verdi's musical creation.

Twenty years, with all their implications on maturity and artistic growth, lie between Rigoletto and Aida. Yet the earlier opera composed so rapidly remains a close second in popularity to the great composer's more mature work.

There are several explanations to the public's abiding interest in Rigoletto. It is based upon one of Hugo's most effective plays, more known to English-speaking play-goers in Tom Taylor's adaptation as The Fool's Revenge. Rigoletto, the hunchback, has been however strongly characterised in Verdi's music, along with other roles that have appealed to so many famous artists especially during opera's golden age, a handful of them being Caruso, Bjorling, Gigli, and Kraus among a myriad of others. Gilda is known to be a role that no coloratura soprano can do without, albeit Toscanini once cast it in a concert performance with a heavy dramatic soprano, and Verdi like upon it as simply a lyrical role.

Thus Piave has plot a central character of vital dramatic importance, and at least two other characters of strong interest in the roles of Gilda and the Duke. However there is much more to say on its behalf, for the quarter in the last act of Rigoletto is said to be one of the finest pieces of concerted music in Italian opera along with Lucia di Lammermoor's sextet.

The opera's argument is centred around the amatory escapades of the Duke of Mantua, in which he is aided by Rigoletto, his jester; a hunchback. The latter, both by his caustic wit and unscrupulousness has created several enemies at court, one of them being Count Monterone, who comes to the court to demand the restoration of his daughter who has been dishonoured by the Duke, and is met with laughter and derision by Rigoletto. He is however cursed by the count, and is stricken with superstitious terror (the music for which is immediately set forth in the prelude).

Rigoletto has a daughter, Gilda, who is kept in strict seclusion, however, unwittingly the Duke starts liking her, and she falls prey to his wiles. As of this point, the plot starts entangling itself. Count Ceprano has fallen under Rigoletto's biting times many times and will therefore jump at any opportunity to injure him. He knows that Gilda is in some way connected to the Jester, even believing her to be his mistress rather than his daughter, and arranges that Rigoletto wittingly assists in her abduction. When he finds out that he has aided in placing his own daughter under the power of the Duke from which he has protected her so much, he vows to murder his master, engaging Sparafucile, a bravo, to do so. The plot gets even more interesting, however we will spare you any spoilers.

An enticing plot, masterly set by Verdi to his exquisite music. Teatru Astra promises a production to be remembered set forth by its much-loved dexterous production team led by Enrico Stinchelli and John Galea in their respective roles as artistic director and conductor. Follow our website social media pages for more details. This production is made possible by the Ministry for Gozo and the Gozo Cultural Support Programme.

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