The 2017 Opera in the Quarry season will feature one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most popular operas: “Rigoletto”. The premiere is on 12 July on one of Europe’s most impressive open-air stages at St. Margarethen Quarry. The quarry’s rugged rocky landscape provides a breathtaking backdrop for Verdi’s masterpiece.
The story of the court jester Rigoletto and his daughter has all the suspense of a thriller and is one of opera’s most tragic tales. Rigoletto is the hunchbacked jester working for the Duke of Mantua, a notorious womanizer. The jester is always teasing the cuckolded husbands and irate fathers who fall prey to the Duke’s philandering, humiliating them with his biting ridicule. Count Monterone, whose daughter had been seduced by the Duke, calls down a curse on the jester for his cruelty. But when Rigoletto proposes that the courtiers abduct Count Ceprano’s wife, they are outraged and decide to teach him a lesson. They abduct Rigoletto’s “lady companion” instead, who is rumoured to be his lover but in actual fact is his daughter, Gilda. The jester searches for Gilda and finds her at court. She admits that the Duke seduced her. Realizing that the Duke has deflowered his own daughter, Rigoletto vows to avenge her honour by having him murdered. But events take a tragic turn as the assassin Sparafucile stabs Gilda instead, who, naively infatuated with her seducer, intervened to try and save him. And thus Count Monterone’s curse is fulfilled.
“The best subject I have set to music so far,” the otherwise modest composer enthused when the opera “Rigoletto” was premiered at Venice’s Teatro La Fenice in 1851. And nobody will contradict him here! “Rigoletto” went on to take the world’s stages by storm and cemented Verdi’s international fame.
Without doubt, Rigoletto secured Verdi world fame.