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RIGOLETTO, Vienna State Opera, 27 March 2021

Event details

  • Category: Operas
  • Event: RIGOLETTO
  • Date/Time: 27 March 2021
  • Venue: Vienna State Opera
  • Address: Opernring 2, 1010 Wien / Vienna (Map)
  • Other Dates: Show alternatives


No tickets available.


Act 1

At a party, the Duke of Mantua reveals that he has been pursuing a young woman he does not know. He considers being faithful to one woman laughable; to him all women are attractive. Goaded by his jester Rigoletto, he has just set his sights on Countess Ceprano. Marullo tells the other courtiers about his latest discovery: the ugly Rigoletto seems to have a lover. Since Rigoletto is hated at court but is untouchable, the courtiers – led by Count Ceprano – plan to take their revenge on him by abducting his presumed lover. When Rigoletto mocks Count Monterone, who arrives to accuse the Duke of having dishonoured his daughter, Monterone curses the despot and his cynical jester. On his way home, Rigoletto encounters the hired killer Sparafucile. When he unexpectedly offers Rigoletto his services, Rigoletto seems interested. He realizes that Sparafucile is a reflection of himself: both of them are outsiders. Disconcerted by Monterone’s curse, Rigoletto blames society and his dubious metier for his own wickedness.

At home with his daughter Gilda, whom he tries to keep hidden away from the world, Rigoletto seeks the happiness that life denies him. He sidesteps all her questions about her identity and his own. Out of fear of losing her Rigoletto forbids his daughter all contact with the outside world, other than attending church. A young man is nevertheless courting her. It is the duke, who is passing himself off as a poor student. When Rigoletto leaves the house, the Duke assails Gilda with declarations of love that seem to her to be her girlish dreams coming true. Noise from the street forces the Duke to leave: the courtiers have arrived to abduct Rigoletto’s “lover”. Rigoletto, whom they have blindfolded, even helps them in their endeavour, believing that they are abducting Countess Ceprano. Too late, Rigoletto realizes what has happened.

Act 2

The Duke finds Rigoletto’s house deserted. He laments his lost love, for whom for the first time he believes to have felt deep affection. At court, he discovers that Gilda has been brought by his courtiers to the palace, and he hurries to be with her. Rigoletto searches frantically for his daughter, but the courtiers are of no assistance to him, even when he reveals to them that they abducted not his lover but his daughter. When the Duke sends Gilda away, she tries to confide in her father. But Rigoletto can think only of bloody revenge.

Act 3

To “cure” Gilda of her love for the Duke, Rigoletto takes her to Sparafucile’s house and forces her to watch as the Duke takes his pleasure with the prostitute Maddalena (Sparafucile’s sister). Rigoletto sends his daughter away to prepare for their flight and instructs Sparafucile to kill the Duke. However, Gilda has returned secretly and overhears how Maddalena persuades her brother to murder the next person to come to the house before midnight instead of the Duke. Gilda is firmly resolved to sacrifice herself for her love. She knocks at the door.

A short while later, Sparafucile gives Rigoletto a corpse in a sack. At the moment of his greatest triumph – Rigoletto feels like the omnipotent avenger – he hears the Duke’s voice.Horrified, he opens the sack and sees his dying daughter. Without comprehending what has happened, Rigoletto believes that Monterone’s curse has caused the tragedy.

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