II Duca di Mantova Alfredo Kraus
Kigoletto, buffone di corte Leo Nucci
Gilda, sua figlia Luciana Serru
Sparafucile, bravo Michele Pertusi
Maddalena, sua sorella Ambra Vespasiunl
(tiovanna, custode di Gilda Desdemona Malvisi
II Conte Monterone Angelo Nosotti
II Cavaliere Marullo Renzo Magnanl
Matteo Borsa, cortigiano Gianfranco Manganotti
II Conte di Ceprano Marcello Crisnuin
La Contessa, sua sposa Lea Kalj
I In uHciere di corte Tiziano Toinassonc
Mil paggio della Duchessa Roberta Quart Icrl
Orchestra Sinfonica deU'Emilia Romagna "Arturo Toscanini" dlretta la da Angelo Campori
Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma della Cooperative. "Arllsll di-l Coro" di Parma
Maestro del Coro lklgardo F.gaddi
Uegia, scene e costumi Pier Luigi Samarllani
An opera in three acts; libretto by Francesco Maria Piave; from the play Le Roi S'Amuse by Victor Hugo; premiere at La Fenice Theatre, Venice on 11 March 1851.
ACT ONE. A party at the duke's palace. The duke is infatuated with a young girl he sees in church on Sundays. But at the same time he is also pursuing the beautiful wife of the count of Ceprano. ("Questa o quella, per me pari sono"="This one or that one, it's all the same to me.") Rigoletto, the hunchback court jester, scornfully mocks Ceprano as a cuckold. For this and all his sharp-tongued mockery the courtiers want to punish the hunchback, and they think of a way: in his house in the city, they know, a woman is living whom he shields from public view; they suppose she is his mistress, and plan to abduct her. The count of Monterone enters and denounces the duke for having seduced his daughter. Rigoletto mocks him, too, and Monterone then curses the jester. The scene changes to a city street, a dark cul de sac, at night. Rigoletto is there, brooding over Monterone's curse. A local tough named Sparafucile approaches the hunchback and offers to work for him as a hired killer. Rigoletto leaves, but before going, he asks the killer's name and address. Now, he thinks, he has an ally ("Pari siamo!"="We're the same!") to defend him from the duke and from "the jeering courtiers." His house is on this street; he enters. The woman inside, awaiting him, is his daughter, Gilda. He's a widower, and now that his dear wife is dead, the girl is all he has in the world. ("Deh, non parlare al misero"="Oh, why recall my misery.") He fears that someone will find her; he fears the courtiers. As Rigoletto is leaving the house, the duke arrives, furtively, dressed in a commoner's clothes. He pretends to be a poor student named Gualtier Malde. In the guise of Malde he has already approached Gilda in church, and now he declares his love to her. ("E' il sol deH'anima"="lt's the sun of the spirit....") Gilda goes up to her room alone, repeating to herself the name of her mysterious suitor. ("Caro nome che il mio cor..."="Dear name that makes my heart....") She is kidnapped by a gang of courtiers. Unwittingly, Rigoletto helps them abduct her. When he realizes how they've tricked him, it's too late. ("Ah, la maledizione!"="Ah, the curse!")
ACT TWO. In his palace, the duke is upset about Gilda's disappearance. He had gone to her house and found her missing. Remembering her, he is moved, and wonders sadly where she is. ("Parmi veder le lacrime"="l seem to see her tears....") Then the courtiers enter, and tell him Gilda is in the palace. He runs to join her. ("Possente amor mi chiama"="The power of love calls me.") Rigoletto realizes that his daughter is in the palace, with the duke ("Cortigiani, vil razza dannata"="Courtiers, you damned vile race"), and implores the courtiers to give him back his daughter, his treasure. Between sobs, Gilda confesses to her father that she has lost her honour. The hunchback cries that he will vindicate the honor of every humiliated father. ("Si, vendetta, tremenda vendetta!"="Yes, revenge, tremendous revenge!")
ACT THREE On the right bank of the Mincio River we see the run-down rustic tavern belonging to Sparafucile. It's night. Gilda and Rigoletto are outside the tavern, on the street, looking in. They see the duke inside, flirting with and charming ("La donna e mobile"="Women are fickle") Sparafucile's sister, Maddalena. Gilda is very upset to see him betraying her. Rigoletto comforts her, promising to avenge this betrayal (quartet: "Bella figlia dell1 more"="Pretty daughter of love...") while Gilda is safe in Verona. When Gilda leaves, the hunchback gives Sparafucile ten gold pieces as down payment for the killing; he'll pay the other ten when Sparafucile gives him a sack containing the duke's body. A storm approaches, and the wind starts howling, almost like a human being in pain. The duke goes upstairs to bed, and then Maddalena tries to persuade her brother to spare the duke's life and kill the hunchback instead. Sparafucile refuses, but finally promises that if someone should come to the tavern before midnight, he'll kill that person in place of the duke. Gilda, having returned, overhears this, and decides to sacrifice her life for the duke. She knocks on the door, and is stabbed by Sparafucile.
At midnight Rigoletto returns to collect the sack with its macabre load. But at that moment he hears the duke singing ("La donna e mobile"="Women are fickle"). Under the street lamp he opens the sack and sees Gilda inside. With her dying breath she asks her father to pardon her. In heaven, near her mother, she'll pray for her father left alone on earth. Rigoletto, mad with grief, falls on his daughter's body, screaming, "Ah, la maledizione!"="Ah, the curse!"
A mechanism of perfect logic snaps shut at the end like a merciless trap. Rigoletto, Verdi's most original and disturbing character, bears bitter witness to the painful human condition, in which rebellion is useless. The young duke, powerful and amoral, seems to mock at all misfortune. The innocent victim sacrificed, sweet gentle Gilda, will join her mother in heaven, the only way to remove oneself from the injustice inflicted by one's fellows.