A popular culture-centric help guide to Verdi’s Rigoletto

A popular culture-centric help guide to Verdi’s Rigoletto

This month, the Atlanta Opera stages Verdi’s Rigoletto. That will help you impress (or entertain) your opera-going buddies, a couple of nuggets you are able to drop prior to the curtain increases or during intermission.

The fast synopsis: Rigoletto may be the story from the licentious Duke of Mantua, the hunchbacked jester Rigoletto, and also the jester’s lovely daughter, Gilda. The duke seduces a courtier’s daughter, the courtier curses the duke and Rigoletto, Gilda falls deeply in love with the duke, also it all ends tragically (see: aforementioned curse).


The opera is dependant on the 1832 play Le Return on investment S’Amuse by Victor Hugo, most widely known for that novels L’ensemble des Misérables and Notre-Dame de Paris (also known as it that gave us Quasimodo and Esmeralda).

Hugo’s play was banned after only one performance, and also the opera likewise encountered objections from censors displeased using the depiction of the lusty, callous royal protagonist. To mollify them, Verdi demoted the primary character from king to duke.

Colbert: Courtesy of Comedy Central
Colbert: Courtesy of Comedy Central

“La D è Mobile,” the opera’s best-known aria, plays in Grand Thievery Auto, that Doritos Super Bowl ad in which a baby is slingshotted to steal his brother’s chips, The Simpsons, as well as an Argentinean ad for Axe body spray. The aria continues to be done by Luciano Pavarotti, Alvin and also the Chipmunks, Three Mo’ Tenors, and Stephen Colbert (by having an assist by Plácido Domingo).

20th Century Fox/Courtesy of Everett Collection
20th Century Fox/Courtesy of Everett Collection

Because it debuted in 1851, Rigoletto continues to be reimagined in a number of settings, including mafioso-controlled 1950s Little Italia, Planet from the Apes, Rat Pack-era Vegas, the scandal-prone cabinet of Silvio Berlusconi, the Kennedy White-colored House, and Prohibition-era Oswego, New You are able to.

Around the calendar: Catch Rigoletto in the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on Feb 28, March 3, March 6, and March 8.

This short article initially made an appearance within our Feb 2015 issue under “Your Rigoletto Crib Sheet.”

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2 thoughts on “A popular culture-centric help guide to Verdi’s Rigoletto

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