Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le Roi s’amuse by Victor Hugo.
Sung in Italian with English Surtitles
First performed at La Fenice in Venice on 11 March 1851
Dating from the very middle of Verdi’s middle period, and occupying first place in the famous early 1850s trilogy that includes Il Trovatore and La Traviata, Rigoletto is one of the best known of all Verdi’s operas. Indeed, it is the first of his operas to have remained popular and firmly in the repertoire without interruption, since its premiere at La Fenice in Venice in 1851 to the present day. There were, nevertheless, impediments to early performances, both from the official censors and self-censorious audiences, appalled by what they saw as the ‘immorality’ and ‘obscene triviality’ of the Victor Hugo play on which Verdi and his librettist Francesco Maria Piave based their masterpiece. Early performances sometimes had to be given under different titles, occasionally even with Gilda living to see a happy end – indication, if nothing else, of the opera’s durability. Despite magnificent choruses, it is also essentially an intimate drama, something that lends itself to the adaptations also required in a pared-down performance such as that presented here in the ShortWorks series.
Back in 1851, Rigoletto represented Verdi’s most radical break yet with the conventions of Italian opera. Everything seems to be driven by the characterization of Hugo’s play. Fired up with enthusiasm, Verdi called the play ‘the greatest subject and perhaps the greatest drama of modern time’, and he described Triboulet (the character who became Rigoletto) ‘a creation worthy of Shakespeare’.
The Festival ShortWorks are made possible by the generous support of The Lord Magan of Castletown.
22 Oct - 11 a.m.
25 Oct - 3.30 p.m.
28 Oct - 3.30 p.m.
2 Nov - 3.30 p.m.
4 Nov - 3.30 p.m.
Previous Engagements: Répétiteur (Don Pasquale, Donizetti, Auditorio de Tenerife; Baccanali, Agostino Steffani, Festival della Valle d’Itria; Rigoletto, Verdi, Festival Verdi).
Forthcoming Engagements: Répétiteur and Continuist (Le Donne vendicate, Niccolò Piccinni, Festival della Valle d’Itria).
Previously at WFO: Director (Il Campanello, Donizetti, 2016 ShortWork; La Cenerentola, Rossini, 2014 ShortWork; Une Éducation manquée/La Cambiale di matrimonio, Chabrier/Rossini, 2009; Don Gregorio, Donizetti, 2006).
Previous Engagements: Director (Adelson e Salvini, Bellini, Teatro Pergolesi – Jesi; Maria di Rohan, Donizetti, Teatro Donizetti – Bergamo).
Forthcoming Engagements: Director (Adelson e Salvini, Bellini, Teatro Massimo Bellini – Catania; Crime Passionnel, Piazzolla, Teatro Sociale of Brescia and touring).
Stage & Costume Director
Previous Engagements: Set Designer (Betly or The Swiss Hut, Donizetti, Teatro Sociale di Bergamo / Teatro Donizetti di Bergamo), Assistant Set Designer (La Bohème, Puccini, Scottish Opera).
Forthcoming Engagements: Assistant Set Designer (Thaïs, Massenet, Minnesota Opera).
Previously at WFO: Lighting Designer (Il Campanello, The Bear, Riders to the Sea, 2016).
Previous Engagements: Lighting Designer (70 Års Opera, Danish National Opera; L'incoronazione di Poppea, Monteverdi, Trinity Laban Conservatoire; Der Freishütz, Weber, Blackheath Halls Opera).
Forthcoming Engagements: Lighting Designer (Dubliners, Andrew Synnott, Opera Touring Company, Ireland; Beauty and the Beast, Gordon Barr, Bard in the Botanics; Peter Pan, Alan McHugh, QDOS Entertainment).
Baritone, United Kingdom
Previous Engagements: Eugene Onegin (Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky, Angers Nantes Opéra), Hermann (Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Offenbach, Royal Opera House), Silvio (I Pagliacci, Leoncavallo, Opéra de Toulon).
Forthcoming Engagements: Robert Cecil (Gloriana, Britten, Teatro Real), Procolo (Viva la Mamma, Donizetti, Opéra de Lyon).
Previous Engagements: Susanna (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart, Opéra de Toulon), Micaëla (Carmen, Bizet, Tenerife Opera), Oscar (Un Ballo in maschera, Verdi, Ente Concerti Marialisa de Carolis Sassari).
Forthcoming Engagements: Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi, Puccini, Opéra de Montpellier), Soprano (Carmina Burana, Orff, Orchestra regionale della Toscana ORT).
Duke of Mantua
Tenor, United Kingdom
Previously at WFO: Spiridione (Il Campanello, Puccini, 2016).
Previous Engagements: Beppe (Rita, Donizetti, West Green House Opera), Mozart (Mozart and Salieri, Rimsky-Korsakov, Time Zone Theatre), Don Basilio Cover (The Marriage of Figaro, Mozart, Glyndebourne Festival Opera).
Previous Engagements: Flora (La Traviata, Verdi, Teatro Lirico Cagliari), Meg page (Falstaff, Verdi, Teatro Lirico Cagliari), Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, Opera di Firenze).
Forthcoming Engagements: Maddalena (Rigoletto, Verdi, Teatro Regio, Parma), Dritte Dame (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, Opera di Firenze, Dubai tour).
Previously at WFO: Hortense (Koanga, Delius, 2015).
Previous Engagements: Fidalma (Il Matrimonio segreto, Cimarosa, Pop-up Opera), Filippyevna cover (Eugene Onegin, Tchaikovsky, Grange Park Opera), Penelope cover (Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, Monteverdi, Iford Arts Festival).
Baritone, United Kingdom
Previous Engagements: Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas, Purcell, Grange Festival), Labarta (O Arame, Juan Durán, Xoga).
Forthcoming Engagements: Guglielmo (Così fan tutte, Mozart, Northern Ireland Opera).
Previously at WFO: Un Servo (Guglielmo Ratcliff, 2015).
Previous Engagements: Trin (La Fanciulla del West, Puccini, Grange Park Opera), Bach (Ricercar, Ives/Gilkes, Present Tense).
Thomas D Hopkinson
Bass, United Kingdom
Previous Engagements: Sarastro (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart, Westminster Opera Company at Chateau de Panloy, Port d’Envaux), Chorus (Billy Budd, Britten, Opera North at Aldeburgh), Bass Soloist (The Dream of Gerontius, Elgar, Blackburn Music Society).
Forthcoming Engagements: Bass Soloist (Messiah, Handel, Deo Gratias Choir).