Rigoletto. Composed by Guiseppe Verdi 16th Century, Italy.

Essay by Charisma19College, UndergraduateA, November 2002

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With RIGOLETTO, Verdi greatly enhanced the style of the Italian opera. The voices of bass, baritone, tenor and soprano are all intricately used to create diverse and extensive characters. Verdi maintains his characters' musical individuality in ensembles, solos and the infamous quartet, which is strategically placed in the last act.

RIGOLETTO is set in the sixteenth century and takes place in Mantua, Italy. The opera is about the strong, protective relationship that a court jester, Rigolleto, has with his beautiful young daughter, Gilda. Rigoletto keeps his daughter locked in the house in order to protect her from the evil Duke of Mantua. Thinking that Rigoletto's daughter is actually his lover, the Duke and his courtiers capture the young Gilda and take advantage of her naivete. Much to Rigoletto's dismay he becomes aware of the evil deed done to his daughter. He insists on taking revenge and hires Sparafucile to kill the Duke.

Upon learning that an assassination has been planned for the Duke, Gilda lovingly insists on taking his death. Gilda is ordered by her father to disguise herself as a man and leave town for the evening. A vicious storm breaks and Gilda returns to the inn. She over hears Sparafucile's sister begging her brother to spare the life of the Duke, whom she is smitten with. Sparafucile agrees and announces that the next person to walk through the door will receive the fatal stabbing. Gilda takes it upon herself to take the place of her one true love.

The opening scenes of the RIGOLETTO depict the Duke who has seduced Monterone's daughter. While being ridiculed by Rigoletto, Count Monterone denounces both the Duke and the Jester with a curse. The last act concludes with Rigoletto's cry of Monterone's curse being executed. On a personal note, the opera...