Giuseppe Verdi
  • Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 7 pm
  • Century II Concert Hall

by Giuseppe Verdi
An Opera in Three Acts
Sung in Italian with English supertitles

Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
based on the play Le roi s’amuse by Victor Hugo
World Premiere: Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Italy, March 11, 1851

Robert StivanelloMartin Mázik
Stage DirectorConductor
Set DesignStivanello Costume Co., Inc.
Lighting DesignSean Roberson
Costume DesignStivanello Costume Co., Inc.
ChorusmasterBrian Stranghoner
Opera CoachMary Box
  • Setting:

    Mantua, Italy, 16th Century

  • Rigoletto Synopsis

  • Act I, Scene 1: Ballroom of the Duke's Palace

    At his palace, the Duke of Mantua light-heartedly boasts to his courtiers of amorous conquests, escorting Countess Ceprano, his latest prize, to a private chamber as his hunchback jester, Rigoletto, makes fun of her husband. Marullo announces that Rigoletto is suspected of keeping a mistress and Ceprano plots with the courtiers to punish the hated buffoon. Attention is diverted when Monterone, an elderly nobleman, enters to denounce the Duke for seducing his daughter. Ridiculed by Rigoletto and placed under arrest, Monterone pronounces a curse on both the Duke and his jester.

  • Act I, Scene 2: Rigoletto's Home

    That evening, Rigoletto broods on Monterone’s curse. Rejecting the services of Sparafucile, a professional assassin, he notes that words can be as deadly as a dagger. Greeted by his daughter, Gilda, whom he keeps hidden from the world, he reminisces about his late wife, then warns the governess, Giovanna, to admit no one.

    As Rigoletto leaves, the Duke slips into the garden, tossing a purse to Giovanna to keep her quiet. The nobleman declares his love to Gilda, who he noticed on her way to church. He tells her he is a poor student named Gualtier Malde, but at the sound of footsteps he rushes away. Tenderly repeating his name, Gilda retires.

    Meanwhile, the courtiers stop Rigoletto outside his house and asks him to help abduct Ceprano’s wife, who lives across the way. The jester is duped into wearing a blindfold and holding a ladder against his own garden wall. The courtiers break into his home and carry off Gilda. Rigoletto, hearing her cry for help, tears off his blindfold and rushes into the house, discovering only her scarf. He remembers Monterone’s curse.

  • Act II: The Dukes Private Rooms

    In his palace, the Duke is distraught over the disappearance of Gilda. His courtiers return with news that they have abducted Gilda and that she is now in his bedchamber; the Duke joyfully rushes off to the conquest. Soon Rigoletto enters, warily looking for Gilda; the courtiers bar his way, though they are astonished to learn the girl is not his mistress but his daughter. The jester reviles them, then embraces the disheveled Gilda as she runs to tell of her courtship and abduction. As Monterone is led to the dungeon, Rigoletto vows to avenge them both.

  • Act III: Sparafucile's Inn near the river

    At night, outside Sparafucile’s run-down inn on the outskirts of town, Rigoletto and Gilda watch as the Duke flirts with the assassin’s sister and accomplice, Maddalena. Rigoletto sends his daughter off to disguise herself as a boy for her escape to Verona, then pays Sparafucile to murder the Duke. As a storm rages, Gilda returns to hear Maddalena persuade her brother to kill not the Duke, but the next visitor to the inn instead. Resolving to sacrifice herself for the Duke, despite his betrayal, Gilda enters the inn and is stabbed. Rigoletto comes back to claim the body and gloats over the sack Sparafucile gives him, only to hear his supposed victim singing in the distance. Frantically cutting open the sack, he finds Gilda, who dies asking forgiveness. Monterone’s curse is fulfilled.

  • To read more about the story and history of Rigolettoclick here.

The Cast

Creative Team

WGO Orchestra and Chorus
Duke of MantuaLeonardo Capalbo
Rigoletto, the Duke’s jesterMichael Nansel
Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughterYunnie Park
Sparafucile, an assassinWilliam Powers
Maddalena, Sparafucile’s sisterSarah Heltzel
Giovanna, Gilda’s NurseHeather Foutz †
Count CepranoAndrew Hernandez †
Countess CepranoCount Ceprano’s wifeCharleen Ayers *
Matteo Borsa, a courtierHugo Castillo *
Count MonteroneSamuel Ramey
Marullo, a courtierCharles Turley *
A Court UsherRay Wills
A PageMarisa Buchheit †
Male Chorus: Townspeople
Supernumeraries: Court Ladies
* WGO Resident Artists    † WGO Academy Fellow