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Metropolitan Opera: Rigoletto Poster

Metropolitan Opera: Rigoletto

Closed April 27, 2017

"Musically, the performance standard was high but also full of dramatic truth."

WXQR New York

Why See Metropolitan Opera: Rigoletto?

From Mantua to Vegas

Director Michael Mayer's hit production of Verdi's powerful tragedy sees 1500's Mantua replaced by a seedy and gaudy Las Vegas in 1960; the ideal setting for this eternal conflict of depravity and innocence. As with many operas, the themes of revenge, mistaken identities and divine intervention feature heavily in this; something that was quite hidden in Victor Hugo's original novel until Verdi put it to music. Starring Stephen Costello and Joseph Calleja (alternating as the womanizing Duke,) Olga Peretyatko as Gilda, and Zeljko Lucic as Rigoletto role. Pier Giorgio Morandi conducts.

What is it about?

Although not as strong a condemnation of class division and injustice as originally imagined by Victor Hugo, we see how a boastful and cruel henchman pays a heavy price for mocking a powerful man. We see a fabulously rich Duke, owner of a casino boast of his prowess with women, and later seduce the daughter of Rigoletto, his henchman and former comedian, who in turn mocks the visiting Arab tycoon Monterone, who accuses the Duke (correctly as it happens) of seducing HIS daughter as well.

Directing a curse at Rigoletto for his poor taste in fellowship, this worries the comedian, and he directs his household to protect his innocent daughter Gilda from the machinations of the Duke and company. However, this goes awry when Gilda is kidnapped in a case of mistaken identity by the Duke's own men, believing her to be Rigoletto's mistress instead.

Rigoletto discovers that the Duke has deflowered his daughter, and vows to avenge her honor, and Monterone by killing the Duke. However, he has not counted on his besotted daughter, who is determined to do anything for her beloved Duke - even die for him.

A drama that is more twisted than anything Shakespeare could have dreamt up, the Vegas-set tragedy brings a new context to this medieval tale.

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Additional Information


Opening night: 20 January 2017


sung in Italian with titles in English, German, Italian and Spanish

Run time

Three hours and four minutes with two intermissions

Cast and Creative



Production: Michael Mayer

Set Designer: Christine Jones

Costume Designer: Susan Hilferty

Lighting Designer: Kevin Adams

Choreographer: Steven Hoggett

Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado

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