by Giuseppe Verdi
Friday, March 10, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 2:00 PM
Powerful forces unravel this tragic story of a father’s love, deception, debauchery, and revenge. Originally named ‘The Curse’, the lives of a hunch-backed jester and a lecherous Duke collide in Verdi’s brilliant masterpiece of passion and vengeance. Featuring some of opera’s most famous melodies, Rigoletto is the story of a daughter abducted, a father outraged, and a curse fulfilled.
Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.
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CAST AND SYNOPSIS LISTED BELOW
Palm Beach Opera would like to sincerely thank the following members of our Co-Producer Program, and our additional sponsors for helping to make this performance possible:
Rigoletto: Mrs. Cornelia T. Bailey
Rigoletto: Mr. and Mrs. Howard Lester
Rigoletto: Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Williams
Rigoletto: The Daft Family Foundation
Rigoletto: Mr. Nathan Leventhal
Rigoletto: Meridian Capital Group, Israel Schubert
Rigoletto: Mr. Marc Solomon
Rigoletto – Season Concertmaster Sponsor: Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gottesman
Rigoletto: Mr. and Mrs. Ed Streim
Rigoletto: Ms. Barbara Greis and Mr. Howard Gottlieb
Rigoletto: Dr. and Mrs. John Strasswimmer
Co-Producer Society Season Opening Celebration Hosts: Drs. Henry and Marsha Laufer
Supertitles Sponsor: Palm Beach Opera Guild
Michael Chioldi – Rigoletto (Friday/Sunday)
Alexander Krasnov* – Rigoletto (Saturday)
Andrea Carroll* – Gilda (Friday/Sunday)
Deanna Breiwick* – Gilda (Saturday)
Alexey Tatarintsev* – Duke of Mantua (Friday/Sunday)
Alok Kumar* – Duke of Mantua (Saturday)
Audrey Babcock* – Maddalena
Štefan Kocan*– Sparafucile
Matthew Treviño* – Monterone
Spencer Viator^ – Borsa
Joshua Conyers^ – Marullo
Andrew Simpson^ – Ceprano
Danielle MacMillan*^ – Countess Ceprano
Tara Curtis*^ – Giovanna
Kasia Borowiec*^– Page
*Palm Beach Opera Debut
^Benenson Young Artist
Additional cast information will be listed as it becomes available.
Cast subject to change.
Act I Scene 1: The Duke’s palace
During a ball in his palace, the Duke of Mantua discusses his fascination with a beautiful woman he has been admiring every week at church. A notorious rake, the Duke then quickly turns his attentions to a married Countess at the party. The Duke often takes pleasure in seducing women in front of their husbands, while Rigoletto, the hunchbacked court jester, makes fun of the cuckold. The courtiers, who have at one time all been victims of this mockery, secretly conspire to take revenge on Rigoletto. Believing they have recently discovered that the jester keeps a mistress at home, they make plans to abduct her later that evening. Just then, Monterone bursts in and demands to speak to the Duke. Monterone’s daughter had been seduced by the nobleman, but Rigoletto ridicules the poor father and derides the girl’s lost honor while Monterone raves about retribution. The Duke callously orders that Monterone be sent to prison. As he is led away he curses Rigoletto, who is deeply shaken by the words.
Scene 2: By the courtyard of Rigoletto’s house
Later that evening as Rigoletto walks home, he is confronted by Sparafucile, an assassin who offers his services. Rigoletto declines, but begins to reflect on his own similarity to the murderer – while Sparafucile uses a knife to destroy his victims, Rigoletto wields a sharp tongue. He laments that his physical deformity has forced him into his vile profession, yet he still takes satisfaction in reviling the courtiers, whom he blames for provoking his vitriol. Upon returning home, Rigoletto transforms into a more tender man as he is greeted by his daughter Gilda. Determined to keep Gilda a secret from the lecherous Duke, he protectively keeps her hidden, forbidding her to leave the house except to attend church.
Left alone with her maid Giovanna, Gilda confesses that she has fallen in love with a unknown man at church, who she does not realize is actually the Duke. Meanwhile, the Duke secretly arrives, surprising Gilda and introducing himself as a poor student named Gualtier Maldè. They rapturously declare their love for one another, but Gilda sends him away, fearful that they may be discovered by her father. That night as she reflects on the bliss of new love, the courtiers gather just below her window to carry out the planned kidnapping, imagining that Gilda must be a lover of Rigoletto. In a twist of fate, the courtiers enlist Rigoletto’s help by convincing him that they are abducting his neighbor’s wife for the Duke. They slyly blindfold Rigoletto with a mask, and only after Gilda has been taken does he realize what has happened. Overwhelmed, he collapses, remembering Monterone’s curse.
Act II – The Duke’s Palace
The courtiers arrive at the palace and proudly inform the Duke that they have kidnapped Rigoletto’s mistress and brought her to one of the bedrooms. Realizing that it must be Gilda, the Duke runs off to see her. Rigoletto arrives and demands that the courtiers give back the woman they abducted from his house. In an outburst of emotion, Rigoletto reveals that Gilda is his daughter. As he begs for pity, Gilda rushes into the room. The courtiers leave and Gilda admits that she has just been defiled by the Duke. Outraged, Rigoletto swears vengeance while Gilda pleads forgiveness for the Duke, whom she still loves.
Act III – Outside Sparafucile’s house
Rigoletto is determined to convince Gilda of the Duke’s faithlessness. He brings her to witness the Duke having a tryst with Sparafucile’s sister, Maddalena. Gilda is crushed to learn of the Duke’s true character. Rigoletto sends her away, instructing her to disguise herself as a man and travel to Verona, where he will meet her the next day. Rigoletto stays behind so that he can hire the assassin to exact his revenge on the Duke. He arranges payment and insists on returning later that evening to dispose of the body himself. In the meantime, Gilda feels compelled to see the Duke one last time, and as she nears the house she overhears Maddalena begging Sparafucile to spare her handsome new lover. Sparafucile reluctantly agrees to substitute another body in place of the Duke’s, if one can be found. Still hopelessly in love with the Duke, Gilda decides to sacrifice herself to save him. Posing as a beggar, she knocks on Sparafucile’s door and is quickly stabbed.
Rigoletto returns at midnight and receives a corpse wrapped in a sack. He rejoices at the Duke’s demise, but as he is about to plunge the body into the river, he hears the voice of the Duke singing from the house. Trembling, Rigoletto opens the sack to find his gravely wounded daughter. With her last breath, Gilda asks for her father’s forgiveness as she dies in his arms. Overcome with grief, Rigoletto exclaims that the curse has been fulfilled.
Photo: Palm Beach Opera