World premiere: March 11, 1951, Teatro La Fenice in Venice
Premiere date for the current staging at the Bucharest National Opera House: February 20, 2014
Performances in the 2013-2014 season:
February 20 (premiere), 21, 22 and 23, 2014
March 15 and 16, 2014
April 2, 2014
May 7, 2014
Artistic director: Stephen Barlow
Conductor: Cristian Sandu (guest)
Set and costume design: Yannis Thavoris
Lighting design: Warren Letton
Choreography: Victoria Newlyn
Chorus master: Stelian Olariu
Assistant lighting designer: Ionuţ Pruteanu
Distribuția stagiunii 2013-2014:
Ducele – Lucian Corchiş/ Robert Nagy (invitat)/ Paul Tabone (invitat)
Rigoletto – Vasile Chişiu/ Martin Fulop (invitat)/ Lucian Petrean (invitat)
Gilda – Veronica Anuşca (invitată)/ Shoushik Barsoumian (invitată)/ Romina Casucci (invitată)
Sparafucile – Petre Burcă (invitat)/ Horia Sandu
Maddalena – Polina Garaeva (invitată)/ Iva Mrvoš (invitată)/ Emanuela Pascu
Giovanna – Adriana Alexandru
Monterone – Marius Boloş/ Iustinian Zetea
Marullo – Daniel Pop/ Radu Ion (invitat)
Borsa – Andrei Lazăr/ Valentin Racoveanu
Contele Ceprano – Octavian Dumitru (invitat)/ Daniel Filipescu
Contesa Ceprano – Elena Dincă (invitată)/ Mădălina Stan (invitată)
Uşierul – Adrian Strezea
Pajul – Claudia Caia (invitată)/ Silvia Micu (invitată)
→ Gennaro Papi, conductor / Jan Kiepura (the Duke), Lily Pons (Gilda), Lawrence Tibett (Rigoletto), Helen Olheim (Maddalena), Virgilio Lazzari (Sparafucile). Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. 1939. Myto 2 MCD 921.56, Live.
→ Tullio Serafin, conductor / Giuseppe di Stefano, Maria Callas, Tito Gobbi, Adriana Lazzarini, Nicola Zaccaria. Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro alla Scala in Milano. 1955. EMI CDS 7 47465-8, Studio.
→ Jean Bobescu, conductor / Ion Buzea, Virginia Zeani, Nicolae Herlea, Dorothea Palade, Nicolae Rafael. Orchestra and Chorus of the Bucharest National Opera House. 1963. Electrecord ECE 0198-0200, Studio.
→ Carlo Maria Giulini, conductor / Plácido Domingo, Ileana Cotrubaş, Piero Cappuccilli, Elena Obraztsova, Nicolai Ghiaurov. Wiener Staatsoper Chorus and Wiener Philharmoniker Orchestra. 1979. Deutsche Grammophon DG 415 288-2, Studio.
→ Carlo Rizzi, conductor / Richard Leech, Leontina Văduva, Alexandru Agache, Samuel Ramey, Jennifer Larmore; Orchestra and Chorus of the Welsh National Opera. 1993. Teldec ASIN: B000000SJ8, Studio.
→ James Levine, conductor / Luciano Pavarotti, Cheryl Studer, Vladimir Chernov, Denyce Graves, Roberto Scandiuzzi. Orchestra and Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. 1998. Deutsche Grammophon 2GH2447-064, Studio.
Corruption, Debauchery and Revenge
“I have in mind a subject that may be one of the greatest creations of modern theatre”, wrote Verdi, in 1850, to librettist Francesco Maria Piave, referring to what was going to be “Rigolleto”, one of the most revolutionary works in the history of opera.
When Verdi asked Maria Piave, with whom he had previously collaborated in the past, to write a script based on a play by Victor Hugo, “Le roi s’amuse”, he was aware that such a subject about a lecherous king, Francois I, and his cynical buffoon, as well as about corruption and revenge, had all the chances to be banned by the Austrian censorship (Northern Italy was, then, under the rule of Austria). And it was banned, as Hugo’s play had been banned during many years in France. Regardless of the fact, Verdi contested every reason invoked by the censorship against the staging of the opera and, after the composer accepted the compromise of replacing the King of France with the Duke of Mantua (a kingdom that did not exist anymore), as well as changing a few details in the script, “Rigoletto” had its first performance at the Teatro La Fenice , in Venice, in 1851. The touching story of the Duke of Mantua, of his buffoon, Rigoletto, and of his daughter, Gilda, highlighted by an extremely evocative music, which almost perfectly describes the characters and the atmosphere, had an incredible success.