Giuseppe Verdi


Opera in three acts


Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave 

Based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo.

World Premiere:  Teatro La Fenice, Venice, on 11 March 1851. 

First performance in Georgia: 1853 Autumn season, at the Tbilisi “Caravanserai” Theatre

Music Director Zaza Azmaiparashvili

Conductor Fabrizio Carminati

Stage director​ Jean-Louis Grinda
Set designer Rudy Sabounghi
Costume designer Ester Martin
Lighting designer Laurent Castaingt
Production of Opéra de Monte-Carlo


Artistic Director: Badri Maisuradze





Act I

Scene 1

The Duke of Mantua hosts another ball in his palace. He believes that all women, no matter how innocent and charming they look, are equally deceptive. Therefore he makes it a way of life to often change his lovers, not caring about their husbands’ anger or jealousy and even now, he flirts with the Countess in front of her husband. Ceprano's anger is further aggravated by the Duke's court jester Rigoletto, who in a short dialogue openly hints that Ceprano is cuckolded.

Ceprano calls on all the courtiers who were once victims of Rigoletto's sarcastic tongue for revenge.

Count Monterone tries to break into the ball. He threatens the Duke for embarrassing his daughter. While Monterone is being held back by the guards, Rigoletto now mocks him for complaining that he Duke has seduced his daughter, aggravating the father's grief. The unhappy old man places a curse upon the Duke and Rigoletto. This curse terrifies the jester. Frightened, he leaves the palace and rushes home.


Scene 2

On his way home, Rigoletto is still preoccupied with Monterone's curse. In a deserted alley, he encounters the assassin Sparafucile who offers his services.

Gilda, the jester’s daughter, is waiting at home. At the request of Rigoletto she leads a secluded life and leaves home only to go to church. She is everything to Rigoletto, but as great is his love for her so great is his fear of losing his daughter. That's why, once again, he strictly warns Gilda's caretaker, Giovanna, never to open the door for anyone.


Scene 2

Gilda feels guilty for not revealing to her father that she has been seeing a beautiful young man in the church for three months and has already fallen in love with him. All of a sudden, this young man, the Duke of Mantua is in front of her and talks about love.

A noise is heard from the street, the Duke must go. Before leaving, he tells Gilda that he is a poor student and his name is Gualtier Maldé.

With a sense of foreboding, Rigoletto returns home and meets all conspirators at his door. They convince him that they are planning to abduct Ceprano's wife and ask him to assist them. Rigoletto agrees.  Like the others, he is also masked, but at the same he is blindfolded and is made to hold a ladder to the wall. When everything is over, Rigoletto takes off the blindfold and realizes everything.


Act II

Upset by Gilda's abduction, Duke is unable to find a place for himself in the palace. But his anxiety is soon replaced by joy as the courtiers return and recount their nightly adventure. Duke realizes everything and rushes to the room where Gilda is kept.

Rigoletto enters. At first, with his usual manners of a jester, and then in sincerity pleads with the courtiers to tell him where his daughter was taken. But he finds out nothing until Gilda herself runs out of the Duke's room and tells him everything.

So he makes a decision and leaves the palace with Gilda. On his way he once again he meets Monterone, who is taken to prison. The broken old man stops in front of the Duke's portrait, saying that his curse was in vain and from now on, he predicts a happy life to the Duke. But Rigoletto is not going to sit idle. He vows to seek revenge for both fathers and their daughters.



At night, Rigoletto and Gilda go to Sparafucile’s house. He wants her to see how the disguised Duke seduces Sparafucile’s sister, Maddalena.

Rigoletto sends his daughter home so that she can change into men's clothing for their flight to Verona, while he makes a deal with Sparafucile to kill the Duke, pays half of the price and leaves to bring the other half.

Meanwhile, because of the falling darkness and thunder the Duke decides to spend the night in Sparafucile's inn and falls asleep. Maddalena begs her brother not to kill this beautiful boy. Dressed in men's clothing, Gilda approaches the inn and watches the argument between the siblings. Maddalena’s begging Sparafucile him and he finds a way out: if anyone should knock on their door before midnight, he will kill them instead of the Duke. Gilda, who heard everything, bangs on the door.

At midnight, Rigoletto returns to give the other half of the money to Sparafucile and take the Duke's body in a sack, so that he may himself throw it into the river. But as he celebrates his victory, he hears the Duke's familiar song from the inn. Distraught Rigoletto cuts open the sack and finds his own daughter mortally wounded. Gilda begs her father's forgiveness for both her and the Duke and dies. "Oh, the curse! –  Rigoletto cries out with her daughters’ body in his arms.