Opéra de Montréal presents


Cruel jester by day, loving father by night, Rigoletto is well aware of the dangers his daughter Gilda faces in the court of the depraved Duke of Mantua. His efforts to keep her hidden away are in vain: the unscrupulous Duke finds Gilda and seduces her. To avenge his daughter, the jester hires an assassin, but a curse upsets his deadly plan.

Inspired by Victor Hugo’s play Le roi s’amuse, this fast-paced opera delivers a succession of famous arias and choruses. Under the spotlight, stars of the opera stage enthusiastically portray Verdi’s emblematic characters.

Act I
Scene 1: The Duke’s palace
At a ball, the licentious Duke tells one of his courtiers, Borsa, that he is attracted to a young girl he has often seen in church. He also has his eye on Countess Ceprano and rejoices in having many women. Rigoletto, the jester, taunts the courtiers, including Count Ceprano who incites the crowd to plot against him. When Monterone enters and publicly denounces the Duke for having seduced his daughter, Rigoletto mocks him. As he is arrested and led away, Monterone curses Rigoletto.

Scene 2: Rigoletto’s house
Shaken by the fact that he has been cursed, Rigoletto is on his way home when Sparafucile, an assassin, offers him his professional services. The jester declines and makes his way home where his daughter Gilda greets him. Rigoletto, overcome by a feeling that some misfortune is going to occur, warns her never to go out; Gilda reassures him by saying that she only leaves the house to go to church. Rigoletto then leaves to see about a noise in the street. Meanwhile, the Duke, in disguise and assuming the identity of a student, is surprised to discover that the girl he told Borsa about is his jester’s daughter. The Duke enters and declares his love for Gilda but, upon hearing footsteps, he leaves her to muse on his name. Outside, the courtiers have decided to take their revenge on Rigoletto by abducting the woman they believe to be the jester’s mistress. Surprised by Rigoletto, the vengeful courtiers trick the jester into helping them by saying that they are kidnapping Countess Ceprano. When he learns how he has been fooled, he fears that Monterone’s curse has begun its work.

Act II: The Duke’s palace
The courtiers tell the Duke of the abduction of Rigoletto’s supposed mistress to the palace. The Duke realizes that this “mistress” is in fact Gilda and he rushes to her room. Rigoletto enters the palace and attempts to get past the courtiers. Gilda soon arrives; disheveled and in tears, she tells her father that the Duke has seduced her. As Monterone passes, on his way to be executed for having denounced the Duke, Rigoletto remembers the curse and swears revenge on the Duke, despite Gilda’s protests.

Act III: Sparafucile’s wayside inn
By spying through a window of an inn, Rigoletto tries to show Gilda that the Duke is a womanizer; they both witness the Duke wooing Sparafucile’s sister Maddalena. At her father’s suggestion, Gilda agrees to leave for Verona, disguised as a man as a security measure. Rigoletto engages Sparafucile to kill the Duke and then departs. But Maddalena, charmed by the Duke, tries to persuade Sparafucile to spare his life; all he needs to do is kill Rigoletto when he returns to collect the body. Sparafucile refuses; at most, he will agree to kill the first man to come to the door before midnight. Love has brought Gilda back to the inn; she overhears Maddalena’s request to her brother and resolves to sacrifice herself. At midnight, Rigoletto returns and is handed a sack containing what he believes to be the Duke’s body but, as he gloats over it, the Duke is heard singing in the distance. Rigoletto tears open the sack to find his daughter, who asks for forgiveness before dying… Monterone’s curse has found its mark.

Language: Italian with English and French surtitles
First act: 53 minutes
Intermission: 25 minutes
Second act: 60 minutes

For information and tickets: www.placedesarts.com  514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112