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Rigoletto

by Verdi


[This synopsis, like my others, is very, very brief. The reason is that I find the normal programme note much too long, and needlessly detailed and complicated. What I want is more of an overview. If I’ve read an overview – a sort of synopsis of a synopsis – I find that, particularly with the help of surtitles, there is then absolutely no need for a blow-by-blow description of the plot.]


The Duke of Mantua is in love with Gilda, the daughter of Rigoletto, the Duke’s jester. She also loves him.


Rigoletto, having been the Duke’s ally in his various romantic affairs (thus incurring the rage of the Duke’s courtiers, and being cursed by one of them, Monterone, to his terror), turns against the Duke when he finds out about the Duke and Gilda.


Rigoletto seeks revenge against the Duke and instructs Sparafucile, an assassin, to kill him.


Sparafucile betrays Rigoletto. Sparafucile’s sister, Maddalena, also being pursued by the Duke, persuades her brother to pretend to kill the Duke by killing a stranger instead. Gilda overhears this plan and decides to be the stranger in order to save her lover, the Duke.


Sparafucile duly kills her. Rigoletto arrives to collect the Duke’s body, but finds that it’s his daughter’s. Rigoletto cries out that Monterone’s curse has been fulfilled.





And an even briefer summary:-



Rigoletto tries to kill the Duke as revenge for seducing his daughter, Gilda, but indirectly causes Gilda’s death.

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