Rigoletto ... Sunday, March 10, 1985
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"When the French author Victor Hugo (1802-1885) published his controversial play Le Roi s'amuse (The King Amuses Himself), he felt obliged to include in a preface an explanation of his intentions. In the drama, he confessed, he had sought to portray a man struggling under a triple handicap: physical deformation, poor health, and an utterly demeaning vocation. Such a fate had embittered his nature, destroyed his scruples, and poisoned his dealings with others . Yet Hugo's portrait of hate incarnate was to possess one redeeming quality--the purity of a father's love. Thus, the stage was set for the tragedy, or more properly in the spirit of the times, the melodrama. As the hunchbacked court jester goads the King and his courtiers into acts of thoughtless and often mean hedonism and triumphs in his ability to manipulate their behavior as he mocks them, he is unknowingly condemning his innocent daughter to ruin. ... In Rigoletto, the rich and credible "humanness" of the main characters is imparted through the nature of the melodies Verdi assigns to them. The Duke is a shameless rogue, but he can be tender and sentimental. When guided by her own feelings, Gilda sheds the trappings of angelic virtue to betray his father and to ignore the teachings of the Church. The portrait of Rigoletto is the most impressive of all. His characterization by Verdi through music is comparable to a diamond: its many facets radiate and fill the opera. The contradictions are honestly and vividly presented largely by melody."--Hugo, Verdi, and Rigoletto.
Table of Contents
Program: Rigoletto, Music by Giuseppe Verdi, Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after Victor Hugo's play, Le Roi s'amuseIncludes: New York City Opera National, Biography ; Cast and Orchestra Roster ; New York City Opera National Compant Administrative and Production Staff Roster ; Synopsis ; Hugo, Verdi, and Rigoletto Notes by Michael Budds ; Upcoming Events