Rigoletto

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Verdi’s Rigoletto

November 9, 14, & 17, 2019
Long Center for the Performing Arts

Rigoletto

Austin Opera opens its 2019-2020 Season with one of opera’s most gritty and exciting works: Verdi’s Rigoletto, November 9 – 17, 2019 at the Long Center.

This tragic story revolving around the unscrupulous Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto’s stunning daughter Gilda is considered to be one of Verdi’s operatic masterpieces. Rigoletto is consumed by his thirst for revenge, but his innocent daughter Gilda pays the ultimate price. The instantly recognizable score features one of the most famous arias in all of opera – the Duke’s “La donna è mobile” – which has become part of the fabric of popular culture.

Starring Michael Chioldi, back for his sixth role with Austin Opera, as Rigoletto, Kang Wang as the Duke who returns for back to back performances after his role in La bohème in the spring of 2019, and Madison Leonard in her Austin Opera debut as Gilda – this opera of extremes and moral ambiguity offers both the grand and the intimate. Traditionally staged, with sets from New Orleans Opera and costumes from Utah Opera, this production will have you on the edge of your seats.

*Patrons must be 8 years of age or older to attend.

Michael Chioldi

Michael Chioldi
Rigoletto

Kang Wang Headshot

Kang Wang
Duke of Mantua

Peter Volpe

Peter Volpe
Sparafucile

Allegra de Vita Headshot

Allegra de Vita*
Maddalena

Tim Bruno Headshot

Timothy Bruno*
Count Monterone

Cono McDonald Head shot

Conor McDonald*
Marullo

Wallin EDIT

Brian Wallin*
Matteo Borsa

Liz Cass
Giovanna

carolynhoehlehs1

Carolyn Hoehle*
Countess Ceprano

Larson-Erik EDIT

Erik Earl Larson*
Count Ceprano

Stephen Maus
Usher

Production

Music: Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave
Conductor: Robert Wood*
Stage Director: Tara Faircloth*
Scenic Design: Lawrence Shafer
Costume Design:  Susan Memmott Allred
Lighting Design: Chad R. Jung*

Text based on Victor Hugo’s “Le roi s’amuse.”
Sung in Italian, with English supertitles.

*Austin Opera debut

ACT I

Scene 1: A grand room in the palace of the Duke of Mantua. In contrast to the somber prelude, dance music can be heard from offstage as gentlemen and their wives circulate though the room. The Duke tells the courtier Borsa about the woman he has seen in church every Sunday for the last three months. He is impatient to bring his seduction of her to a head, and has discovered she lives in a remote alley where a mysterious man visits her every evening. Among the ladies at the ball is the Countess Ceprano. They comment on her beauty and the Duke decides he will make-do with her for now. Borsa warns the Duke that Count Ceprano may overhear them, but the Duke does not care, one woman is just like another and fidelity is detestable (Questa o quella — This one or that). He flirts with the Countess and leads her off stage. Her jealous husband is following as Rigoletto enters and implies Ceprano has horns on his head. He also comments on the doings at court and on the Duke’s seductions. An excited Marullo enters; he has discovered that Rigoletto has a mistress!

The Duke and Rigoletto discuss how they can get rid of Ceprano in order to leave the field clear for the Duke. Rigoletto makes several sarcastic and boorish suggestions which an angry Ceprano overhears. The jester’s master reproves Rigoletto for always going too far with a joke. Rigoletto just laughs; he knows he is protected from the hatred of the courtiers whom he has antagonized by the Duke. These courtiers decide to take revenge on the jester; they will meet that night to formulate a plan.

Suddenly Count Monterone bursts in. His daughter has been ravished by the Duke and he swears revenge. The jester mocks him with a mixture of buffoonery and evil. His lurching music depicts his own hunchbacked deformity (Voi congiuraste — You conspired). When the distraught father curses both the jester and the Duke with a father’s curse, the worst kind, Rigoletto recoils in horror.

ACT II

An alley with Rigoletto’s house on one side and the Cepranos’ on the other.
A shaken Rigoletto enters, still muttering about the curse. He is accosted by Sparafucile a hired assassin for hire (his name is literally Shoot Gun), who offers his services to Rigoletto. He can have his sister lure any victim to his inn and dispose of him there. If Rigoletto has no use for his services just then, he can be found every evening at the same place. After Sparafucile leaves, Rigoletto broods that they are the same: both of them kill, Rigoletto with his tongue and Sparafucile with his dagger (Pari siamo — We are the same). He blames his own corruption on nature which made him a hunchback and on the sneering courtiers with whom he serves.

Still thinking about the curse, he enters his house to be greeted by his loving daughter, Gilda. She begs him to tell her about her family; she doesn’t even know her father’s name! He changes the subject. Has she been out? Only to mass. He finally says her angelic mother felt pity for his sorrows and loved him in spite of his hunchback. She begs to be allowed to see the city and is asked again if she ever goes out. She lies and says no. Terrified that the courtiers who hate him will discover her existence, Rigoletto begs her to keep her promise and stay home. He summons Giovanna, her companion, and asks if she locks the door every night, admonishing her to keep his daughter safe (Veglia, o donna — Watch woman).

Thinking he hears something, he goes out to the street giving the disguised Duke a chance to sneak in and hide. (He slips Giovanna a purse to keep her silent.) To his surprise, he recognizes Rigoletto and realizes it is the jester’s daughter upon whom he has designs. When Rigoletto leaves, Gilda regrets that she has lied to her father by not telling him of the handsome young man who has followed her to church. Although he seems noble, she would prefer a poor man (Signor nè principe — Neither nobleman nor prince). The duke emerges from hiding and ardently declares his love (È il sol dell’anima— [Love] is the sunshine of the soul). He tells her he is a poor student named Gualtier Maldè. As she confesses her love for him, the sound of the conspirators in the street makes her beg him to leave. They sing a long and fond farewell (Addio, addio).

Left alone, Gilda rapturously thinks of her suitor’s name (Caro nome — Dear name). She can be seen by the masked conspirators on the street who admire her beauty. Suddenly Rigoletto appears, called back by new fears and still thinking of the curse. Identifying themselves, the courtiers approach him and ask him to help abduct the Countess Ceprano. He agrees and asks for a mask of his own. While putting it on they manage to blindfold him. He is told to hold the ladder while they do the abduction, and they gloat that they will now have their revenge on their torturer. As they drag the terrified Gilda away, she drops her scarf. Wondering what is happening, Rigoletto discovers the blindfold and tears it off to find the open door and Gilda’s scarf. He utters an anguished La maledizione! —The curse!

INTERMISSION

ACT III:

A room in the palace.
The Duke has been to Rigoletto’s house and found the door open and Gilda gone. He is distressed, mostly for his loss (Ella mi fu rapita — She was stolen from me), but then thinks of her tears (Parmi veder le lagrime — I seem to see those tears). When the courtiers come to tell him of the abduction, he realizes the victim is Gilda and rushes off to ‘comfort’ her (Possente amor — Powerful love).

Rigoletto appears, feigning nonchalance and still playing the fool, but furtively looking around for signs of Gilda (This is the first time, the courtiers realize Gilda is the jester’s daughter rather than his mistress.) Realizing that the abducted woman is his daughter and that she is with the Duke, the jester first asks for her return. When this is of no avail, he falls to weeping and begs to know where she is. Finally, he abjectly throws off the fool and begs them to restore his daughter to him (Cortigiani — Courtiers).

Gilda rushes into the room and throws herself into her father’s arms. She confesses all to him (Tutte le feste al tempio — Every Sunday in church). He comforts her (Piangi fanciulla — Weep child). Monterone is led across the stage on his way to prison, distraught because, in spite of his curse, the Duke remains unscathed. Rigoletto swears that he will seek vengeance for them both (Sì vendetta). Gilda begs him to forgive the Duke; she still loves him.

INTERMISSION

ACT IV:

Sparafucile’s inn. 
We are able to see both the inside of the inn and the deserted riverbank outside. The people in the respective locations cannot hear or see each other. Sparafucile is inside. Rigoletto has brought Gilda, who still believes the Duke loves her, to observe his perfidy for herself. The Duke appears inside, demands a room and some wine and then sings the famous aria La donna è mobile (Woman is fickle). When he returns with the wine, Sparafucile knocks on the ceiling to call his sister. In a quartet, a crestfallen Gilda watches the Duke flirt with Maddalena, and Rigoletto swears revenge (Bella figlia dell’amore — Beautiful daughter of love).

Rigoletto, thinking Gilda has finally been convinced of the Duke’s true nature, tells her to go to safety in Verona where he will meet her soon. Sparafucile comes out and Rigoletto gives him half of the agreed upon sum. He will return at midnight to collect the body and pay the rest. Maddalena tries to save the Duke by telling him to go but a terrible storm is approaching, and he asks for a room for the night. Maddalena begs Sparafucile to spare the handsome young man, but he refuses. She tries to persuade him to kill the jester instead and keep all of the money, but the assassin has pride in his profession. He would never betray a paying customer. Gilda appears outside, dressed as a man, and overhears them agreeing to kill the first person who appears before midnight. Determined to save the Duke’s life at the expense of her own life, she knocks at the door. The door is opened, there is a cry, and then silence.

Rigoletto returns, gleefully anticipating his revenge. Midnight strikes and Sparafucile comes out with a sack supposedly holding the Duke’s body. The jester is about to drag it to the river when he hears the Duke’s La donna è mobile. Horrified he opens the sack to find his dying daughter. She begs his forgiveness and says she will pray for him in heaven (Lassù in cielo — There up in heaven). Instead of the customary concerted finale, Verdi ends the opera as Gilda dies and a heartbroken Rigoletto once more cries, La maledizione!

Eleven Things You May Not Know About Giuseppe Verdi & Rigoletto, by Tara Faircloth:

  1. Known especially for his tuneful music and gripping dramas, Giuseppe Verdi (along with Richard Wagner) is considered one of the two most important opera composers of the nineteenth century. Verdi wrote over 25 operas, and several of his masterworks, such as Rigoletto, La traviata, and Il trovatore, are in the standard repertory of every opera company producing today.
  2. During Verdi’s early years as a composer, Italy was not a unified country, but a collection of nation-states under foreign rule. The 1800s were a time of political and military upheaval, and during Italy’s struggle for independence, the slogan “Viva Verdi” became a rallying cry.  The letters VERDI spelled out the name of the King of Sardinia:  Victor Emmanuele Re DI  In 1861, he became king of Italy, unified for the first time since the 6th Century, and Verdi joined the country’s first parliament, where he served for four years.
  3. Rigoletto (1851) is based on a play by Victor Hugo: Le roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself).   The play was highly controversial, depicting King Louis Philippe as a “debauched, lecherous figure,” and it was banned by the French government after just one performance.  Verdi thought the story would make a thrilling opera.  He wrote his librettist Francesco Maria Piave: “The subject is grand, immense and there’s a character in it who is one of the greatest creations that the theatre of all countries and all time can boast.”
  4. Much to Verdi’s dismay, the libretto had to undergo substantial revisions in order to satisfy the censors. “I find it, in fact, very beautiful to portray this character externally deformed and ridiculous, and internally passionate and full of love. I chose this subject precisely for all these qualities and if all these original features are removed, I cannot set it to music any longer.”
  5. Rigoletto was a triumph at its 1851 Venice premiere, and opened in New York just 4 years later (1855).
  6. Verdi knew that the tenor’s final aria (“La donna è mobile”) was an irresistible tune, and if they heard it, competitors might steal and publish it before the show opened. Thus, the composer kept this music out of rehearsal until a few days before the opening and forbade the tenor from even whistling it in public.
  7. Verdi had a personal connection with the deep parental love and protective urges of his title character. He lost his only two children while working on his first opera and, shortly afterwards, his wife Margherita, who was only 26 years old. Verdi was devastated by their deaths.
  8. Verdi was a great philanthropist, and in 1896, established the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti (literally ‘rest home for musicians’), a home for retired opera singers and musicians in Milan, “Of all my works, that which pleases me the most is the Casa that I had built in Milan to shelter elderly singers who have not been favored by fortune, or who when they were young did not have the virtue of saving their money. Poor and dear companions of my life!”   The institution is still in operation today.
  9. Verdi’s funeral in 1901 remains the largest public assembly of any event in the history of Italy. Taking place at dawn, almost a quarter of a million people took to the streets, marching to the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from Nabucco, accompanied by a huge orchestra and choir comprised of musicians from throughout the country, under the baton of celebrated maestro Arturo Toscanini.
  10. The name Rigoletto was taken from the title of another Victor Hugo play.  Rigolo means “funny” in French.
  11. Verdi wrote most of the score for Rigoletto over a period of 40 days.

Austin Opera presents: our Gilda!

Enjoy Madison Leonard’s performance of the famed aria “Caro nome” in this video from Seattle Opera!

Verdi’s Rigoletto – An Austin Opera Preview!

This is your chance to take a peek behind the scenes of Austin Opera’s upcoming production of Rigoletto with two of the singers: Austin Opera favorites Michael Chioldi, baritone (Rigoletto) and Peter Volpe, bass (Sparafucile) with musical examples.

Overview

Rigoletto

Austin Opera opens its 2019-2020 Season with one of opera’s most gritty and exciting works: Verdi’s Rigoletto, November 9 – 17, 2019 at the Long Center.

This tragic story revolving around the unscrupulous Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto’s stunning daughter Gilda is considered to be one of Verdi’s operatic masterpieces. Rigoletto is consumed by his thirst for revenge, but his innocent daughter Gilda pays the ultimate price. The instantly recognizable score features one of the most famous arias in all of opera – the Duke’s “La donna è mobile” – which has become part of the fabric of popular culture.

Starring Michael Chioldi, back for his sixth role with Austin Opera, as Rigoletto, Kang Wang as the Duke who returns for back to back performances after his role in La bohème in the spring of 2019, and Madison Leonard in her Austin Opera debut as Gilda – this opera of extremes and moral ambiguity offers both the grand and the intimate. Traditionally staged, with sets from New Orleans Opera and costumes from Utah Opera, this production will have you on the edge of your seats.

*Patrons must be 8 years of age or older to attend.

Cast and Production
Michael Chioldi

Michael Chioldi
Rigoletto

Kang Wang Headshot

Kang Wang
Duke of Mantua

Peter Volpe

Peter Volpe
Sparafucile

Allegra de Vita Headshot

Allegra de Vita*
Maddalena

Tim Bruno Headshot

Timothy Bruno*
Count Monterone

Cono McDonald Head shot

Conor McDonald*
Marullo

Wallin EDIT

Brian Wallin*
Matteo Borsa

Liz Cass
Giovanna

carolynhoehlehs1

Carolyn Hoehle*
Countess Ceprano

Larson-Erik EDIT

Erik Earl Larson*
Count Ceprano

Stephen Maus
Usher

Production

Music: Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto: Francesco Maria Piave
Conductor: Robert Wood*
Stage Director: Tara Faircloth*
Scenic Design: Lawrence Shafer
Costume Design:  Susan Memmott Allred
Lighting Design: Chad R. Jung*

Text based on Victor Hugo’s “Le roi s’amuse.”
Sung in Italian, with English supertitles.

*Austin Opera debut

Synopsis

ACT I

Scene 1: A grand room in the palace of the Duke of Mantua. In contrast to the somber prelude, dance music can be heard from offstage as gentlemen and their wives circulate though the room. The Duke tells the courtier Borsa about the woman he has seen in church every Sunday for the last three months. He is impatient to bring his seduction of her to a head, and has discovered she lives in a remote alley where a mysterious man visits her every evening. Among the ladies at the ball is the Countess Ceprano. They comment on her beauty and the Duke decides he will make-do with her for now. Borsa warns the Duke that Count Ceprano may overhear them, but the Duke does not care, one woman is just like another and fidelity is detestable (Questa o quella — This one or that). He flirts with the Countess and leads her off stage. Her jealous husband is following as Rigoletto enters and implies Ceprano has horns on his head. He also comments on the doings at court and on the Duke’s seductions. An excited Marullo enters; he has discovered that Rigoletto has a mistress!

The Duke and Rigoletto discuss how they can get rid of Ceprano in order to leave the field clear for the Duke. Rigoletto makes several sarcastic and boorish suggestions which an angry Ceprano overhears. The jester’s master reproves Rigoletto for always going too far with a joke. Rigoletto just laughs; he knows he is protected from the hatred of the courtiers whom he has antagonized by the Duke. These courtiers decide to take revenge on the jester; they will meet that night to formulate a plan.

Suddenly Count Monterone bursts in. His daughter has been ravished by the Duke and he swears revenge. The jester mocks him with a mixture of buffoonery and evil. His lurching music depicts his own hunchbacked deformity (Voi congiuraste — You conspired). When the distraught father curses both the jester and the Duke with a father’s curse, the worst kind, Rigoletto recoils in horror.

ACT II

An alley with Rigoletto’s house on one side and the Cepranos’ on the other.
A shaken Rigoletto enters, still muttering about the curse. He is accosted by Sparafucile a hired assassin for hire (his name is literally Shoot Gun), who offers his services to Rigoletto. He can have his sister lure any victim to his inn and dispose of him there. If Rigoletto has no use for his services just then, he can be found every evening at the same place. After Sparafucile leaves, Rigoletto broods that they are the same: both of them kill, Rigoletto with his tongue and Sparafucile with his dagger (Pari siamo — We are the same). He blames his own corruption on nature which made him a hunchback and on the sneering courtiers with whom he serves.

Still thinking about the curse, he enters his house to be greeted by his loving daughter, Gilda. She begs him to tell her about her family; she doesn’t even know her father’s name! He changes the subject. Has she been out? Only to mass. He finally says her angelic mother felt pity for his sorrows and loved him in spite of his hunchback. She begs to be allowed to see the city and is asked again if she ever goes out. She lies and says no. Terrified that the courtiers who hate him will discover her existence, Rigoletto begs her to keep her promise and stay home. He summons Giovanna, her companion, and asks if she locks the door every night, admonishing her to keep his daughter safe (Veglia, o donna — Watch woman).

Thinking he hears something, he goes out to the street giving the disguised Duke a chance to sneak in and hide. (He slips Giovanna a purse to keep her silent.) To his surprise, he recognizes Rigoletto and realizes it is the jester’s daughter upon whom he has designs. When Rigoletto leaves, Gilda regrets that she has lied to her father by not telling him of the handsome young man who has followed her to church. Although he seems noble, she would prefer a poor man (Signor nè principe — Neither nobleman nor prince). The duke emerges from hiding and ardently declares his love (È il sol dell’anima— [Love] is the sunshine of the soul). He tells her he is a poor student named Gualtier Maldè. As she confesses her love for him, the sound of the conspirators in the street makes her beg him to leave. They sing a long and fond farewell (Addio, addio).

Left alone, Gilda rapturously thinks of her suitor’s name (Caro nome — Dear name). She can be seen by the masked conspirators on the street who admire her beauty. Suddenly Rigoletto appears, called back by new fears and still thinking of the curse. Identifying themselves, the courtiers approach him and ask him to help abduct the Countess Ceprano. He agrees and asks for a mask of his own. While putting it on they manage to blindfold him. He is told to hold the ladder while they do the abduction, and they gloat that they will now have their revenge on their torturer. As they drag the terrified Gilda away, she drops her scarf. Wondering what is happening, Rigoletto discovers the blindfold and tears it off to find the open door and Gilda’s scarf. He utters an anguished La maledizione! —The curse!

INTERMISSION

ACT III:

A room in the palace.
The Duke has been to Rigoletto’s house and found the door open and Gilda gone. He is distressed, mostly for his loss (Ella mi fu rapita — She was stolen from me), but then thinks of her tears (Parmi veder le lagrime — I seem to see those tears). When the courtiers come to tell him of the abduction, he realizes the victim is Gilda and rushes off to ‘comfort’ her (Possente amor — Powerful love).

Rigoletto appears, feigning nonchalance and still playing the fool, but furtively looking around for signs of Gilda (This is the first time, the courtiers realize Gilda is the jester’s daughter rather than his mistress.) Realizing that the abducted woman is his daughter and that she is with the Duke, the jester first asks for her return. When this is of no avail, he falls to weeping and begs to know where she is. Finally, he abjectly throws off the fool and begs them to restore his daughter to him (Cortigiani — Courtiers).

Gilda rushes into the room and throws herself into her father’s arms. She confesses all to him (Tutte le feste al tempio — Every Sunday in church). He comforts her (Piangi fanciulla — Weep child). Monterone is led across the stage on his way to prison, distraught because, in spite of his curse, the Duke remains unscathed. Rigoletto swears that he will seek vengeance for them both (Sì vendetta). Gilda begs him to forgive the Duke; she still loves him.

INTERMISSION

ACT IV:

Sparafucile’s inn. 
We are able to see both the inside of the inn and the deserted riverbank outside. The people in the respective locations cannot hear or see each other. Sparafucile is inside. Rigoletto has brought Gilda, who still believes the Duke loves her, to observe his perfidy for herself. The Duke appears inside, demands a room and some wine and then sings the famous aria La donna è mobile (Woman is fickle). When he returns with the wine, Sparafucile knocks on the ceiling to call his sister. In a quartet, a crestfallen Gilda watches the Duke flirt with Maddalena, and Rigoletto swears revenge (Bella figlia dell’amore — Beautiful daughter of love).

Rigoletto, thinking Gilda has finally been convinced of the Duke’s true nature, tells her to go to safety in Verona where he will meet her soon. Sparafucile comes out and Rigoletto gives him half of the agreed upon sum. He will return at midnight to collect the body and pay the rest. Maddalena tries to save the Duke by telling him to go but a terrible storm is approaching, and he asks for a room for the night. Maddalena begs Sparafucile to spare the handsome young man, but he refuses. She tries to persuade him to kill the jester instead and keep all of the money, but the assassin has pride in his profession. He would never betray a paying customer. Gilda appears outside, dressed as a man, and overhears them agreeing to kill the first person who appears before midnight. Determined to save the Duke’s life at the expense of her own life, she knocks at the door. The door is opened, there is a cry, and then silence.

Rigoletto returns, gleefully anticipating his revenge. Midnight strikes and Sparafucile comes out with a sack supposedly holding the Duke’s body. The jester is about to drag it to the river when he hears the Duke’s La donna è mobile. Horrified he opens the sack to find his dying daughter. She begs his forgiveness and says she will pray for him in heaven (Lassù in cielo — There up in heaven). Instead of the customary concerted finale, Verdi ends the opera as Gilda dies and a heartbroken Rigoletto once more cries, La maledizione!

Director's Note

Eleven Things You May Not Know About Giuseppe Verdi & Rigoletto, by Tara Faircloth:

  1. Known especially for his tuneful music and gripping dramas, Giuseppe Verdi (along with Richard Wagner) is considered one of the two most important opera composers of the nineteenth century. Verdi wrote over 25 operas, and several of his masterworks, such as Rigoletto, La traviata, and Il trovatore, are in the standard repertory of every opera company producing today.
  2. During Verdi’s early years as a composer, Italy was not a unified country, but a collection of nation-states under foreign rule. The 1800s were a time of political and military upheaval, and during Italy’s struggle for independence, the slogan “Viva Verdi” became a rallying cry.  The letters VERDI spelled out the name of the King of Sardinia:  Victor Emmanuele Re DI  In 1861, he became king of Italy, unified for the first time since the 6th Century, and Verdi joined the country’s first parliament, where he served for four years.
  3. Rigoletto (1851) is based on a play by Victor Hugo: Le roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself).   The play was highly controversial, depicting King Louis Philippe as a “debauched, lecherous figure,” and it was banned by the French government after just one performance.  Verdi thought the story would make a thrilling opera.  He wrote his librettist Francesco Maria Piave: “The subject is grand, immense and there’s a character in it who is one of the greatest creations that the theatre of all countries and all time can boast.”
  4. Much to Verdi’s dismay, the libretto had to undergo substantial revisions in order to satisfy the censors. “I find it, in fact, very beautiful to portray this character externally deformed and ridiculous, and internally passionate and full of love. I chose this subject precisely for all these qualities and if all these original features are removed, I cannot set it to music any longer.”
  5. Rigoletto was a triumph at its 1851 Venice premiere, and opened in New York just 4 years later (1855).
  6. Verdi knew that the tenor’s final aria (“La donna è mobile”) was an irresistible tune, and if they heard it, competitors might steal and publish it before the show opened. Thus, the composer kept this music out of rehearsal until a few days before the opening and forbade the tenor from even whistling it in public.
  7. Verdi had a personal connection with the deep parental love and protective urges of his title character. He lost his only two children while working on his first opera and, shortly afterwards, his wife Margherita, who was only 26 years old. Verdi was devastated by their deaths.
  8. Verdi was a great philanthropist, and in 1896, established the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti (literally ‘rest home for musicians’), a home for retired opera singers and musicians in Milan, “Of all my works, that which pleases me the most is the Casa that I had built in Milan to shelter elderly singers who have not been favored by fortune, or who when they were young did not have the virtue of saving their money. Poor and dear companions of my life!”   The institution is still in operation today.
  9. Verdi’s funeral in 1901 remains the largest public assembly of any event in the history of Italy. Taking place at dawn, almost a quarter of a million people took to the streets, marching to the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves” from Nabucco, accompanied by a huge orchestra and choir comprised of musicians from throughout the country, under the baton of celebrated maestro Arturo Toscanini.
  10. The name Rigoletto was taken from the title of another Victor Hugo play.  Rigolo means “funny” in French.
  11. Verdi wrote most of the score for Rigoletto over a period of 40 days.
Media

Austin Opera presents: our Gilda!

Enjoy Madison Leonard’s performance of the famed aria “Caro nome” in this video from Seattle Opera!

Verdi’s Rigoletto – An Austin Opera Preview!

This is your chance to take a peek behind the scenes of Austin Opera’s upcoming production of Rigoletto with two of the singers: Austin Opera favorites Michael Chioldi, baritone (Rigoletto) and Peter Volpe, bass (Sparafucile) with musical examples.

Act I: 60 minutes
Intermission: 20 minutes
Act II: 30 minutes
Intermission: 20 minutes
Act III: 30 minutes
Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes

7:30PM, Saturday, November 9, 2019
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
7:30PM, Thursday, November 14, 2019
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
2:30PM, Sunday, November 17, 2019
The Long Center for the Performing Arts
701 West Riverside Drive
Austin, Texas 78704
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