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Seattle Opera.

Overview

The July 25, 2020 broadcast of this production on 98.1 KING FM was originally recorded on August 18, 2019. It features Giuseppe Altomare as Rigoletto, Soraya Mafi as Gilda, and Yongzhao Yu as the Duke. Full cast list is available below.

The perfect opera for those that have never attended one before.”

Eclectic Arts


By Giuseppe Verdi

When the charismatic but nefarious Duke of Mantua sets his sights on a bitter minion’s innocent daughter, her overprotective father will stop at nothing to exact revenge on his powerful boss. This riveting masterpiece moves seamlessly between the glittering palace of the ruling class and the gritty squalor of those who struggle in servitude, painting a timely portrait of a divided society and its corrupt regime.

Hugely popular ever since its Venice premiere, Verdi’s thrilling melodrama boasts complex characters, an action-packed plot, and unforgettable music, including opera’s most famous quartet and the iconic La donna è mobile. Learn more about this production, preview the program articles and read reviews on our blog.

“...more real and emotionally impactful than any production of Rigoletto I’ve witnessed.” —San Francisco Classical Voice

Rigoletto was mind-blowing! Absolutely the best production of an opera I’ve seen.” —Lisa, via Facebook

Rigoletto was just fantastic. I can’t say that enough. I want the whole city to see it.” —Paige, via Twitter

Watch the preview

© Neil Mackenzie


Listen to the music

Rigoletto, Opera Queensland, 2014 © Stephanie Do Rozario

In Italian with English Subtitles | at McCaw Hall
Performance Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes including 1 intermission

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Synopsis

ACT I
SCENE 1
At a lavish party hosted by the Duke of Mantua, the insatiable womanizer tells his courtier, Borsa, about his obsession with a girl he has seen in church. He knows where she lives and means to have her—and whichever other women he fancies in the meantime (aria: “Questa o quella”). He flirts with Countess Ceprano in front of her furious husband. The situation escalates when the court jester, Rigoletto, taunts the Count. Rigoletto flaunts the fact that he enjoys the Duke’s protection. When Marullo arrives at the party with gossip that Rigoletto has a mistress, Count Ceprano and the other courtiers devise a scheme to strike back at Rigoletto, whom they all despise.
Monterone’s arrival brings the party to a stop. He is the outraged father of a young woman the Duke has used and shamed. Rigoletto cruelly derides Monterone’s grief. As the Duke coolly orders Monterone’s arrest, the incensed father damns both the Duke and Rigoletto with a curse.

SCENE 2
Unnerved by the curse, Rigoletto meets the hired killer Sparafucile on his way home. The assassin offers the jester his services. Alone, Rigoletto (recitative: “Pari siamo”) compares himself with the assassin: instead of a knife, he kills with his cruel taunts. Full of self-loathing, he rails against mankind, nature, his deformity, and his fate—to be a clown, forced to smile and ridicule people for a living.

Rigoletto arrives home to his daughter Gilda, whom he keeps locked away, hidden from the world. Ignorant of her own background and even her father’s name, she asks many questions. Rigoletto demurs, only telling her that she is all he has in the world since the death of her mother. He confines Gilda to the house and orders the housekeeper, Giovanna, to keep a strict watch on her.

Gilda tells Giovanna that she has fallen for a young man who has been following her home from church. Chasing his prey, the Duke turns up at Rigoletto’s house in disguise. He bribes Giovanna, then seduces Gilda (duet: “È il sol dell’anima”), telling her he is a student named Gualtier Maldè. Hearing footsteps, Giovanna warns him to leave. The Duke reluctantly departs. Enraptured, Gilda sighs the name of her first love as she goes to sleep (aria: “Caro nome”).

Marullo, Ceprano, Borsa, and other courtiers arrive to abduct Rigoletto’s “mistress.” When Rigoletto unexpectedly returns, Marullo sells him the story that the courtiers are going to kidnap Countess Ceprano, who lives nearby. They fool Rigoletto into helping them break into his own house, where they capture Gilda. Upon discovering the trick and his daughter’s abduction, Rigoletto remembers Monterone’s curse.

INTERMISSION
ACT 2
The next morning, the Duke is ranting that Gilda wasn’t there when he returned to Rigoletto’s house. The courtiers tell him they’ve abducted Rigoletto’s “mistress” and brought her to the palace. Guessing that they mean Gilda, he rushes to where the girl is captive. Rigoletto, searching for Gilda, confronts the courtiers (aria: “Cortigiani”). He reveals that the girl is his daughter, begging them for compassion. The courtiers remain unmoved. Gilda emerges, distraught from her ordeal. She tries to tell her father what has happened. They are interrupted by Monterone who, on the way to his execution, pardons the Duke and takes back his curse. In response, Rigoletto swears vengeance on the Duke, both for himself and for Monterone. Gilda pleads for her father to have mercy on the Duke.

ACT 3
In a tavern, the Duke, in disguise, is in high spirits (aria: “La donna è mobile”). Rigoletto forces Gilda to observe him with Maddalena, Sparafucile’s sister (quartet: “Bella figlia dell’amore”). He tells his heartbroken daughter to flee the city and promises to join her the next morning.

As a storm begins to rage, Rigoletto and Sparafucile settle on a price to kill the Duke. Rigoletto tells Sparafucile he will return for the body at midnight. Sparafucile takes the Duke to a room where the Duke waits for Maddalena. She, too, is now infatuated with the Duke, and begs her brother to spare him. She asks Sparafucile to kill Rigoletto when he returns.

Drawn back to the tavern, Gilda overhears Sparafucile agree to murder someone else and substitute that corpse for the Duke’s. Gilda rashly decides to sacrifice her own life to save the Duke. She knocks on the door and meets her fate. Rigoletto returns for the Duke’s body. As he prepares to throw the sack containing the corpse into the river, he hears the Duke’s voice in the distance. Rigoletto rips open the sack to find Gilda, who dies in his arms. Monterone’s curse has been fulfilled.

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Cast

Lester Lynch

Rigoletto

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Rigoletto, Rigoletto

Hometown: Cleveland, OH
Seattle Opera Debut:  Crown, Porgy and Bess (’95)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Crown, Porgy and Bess (’18), Di Luna, Il trovatore ('19, '97)
Recently: Enrico, Lucia di Lammermoor (English National Opera); Doktor Faust, Doktor Faust (Semperopera Dresden); Shylock, The Merchant of Venice (Royal Opera House)
Upcoming: Macbeth, Macbeth (Florentine Opera); Simon Boccanegra, Simon Boccanegra (Washington Concert Opera); Judge Turpin, Sweeny Todd (Bergen National Opera)

Last updated: July 2019

Lester Lynch

Rigoletto

Aug. 10, 17, 23, 25, & 28

Giuseppe Altomare

Rigoletto

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Rigoletto, Rigoletto

Hometown: Molfetta, Italy
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Rigoletto, Rigoletto (Budapest Summer Festival); Belcore, The Elixir of Love (Teatro Massimo di Palermo); Iago, Otello (Opera de Bellas Artes Mexico)
Upcoming: Germont, La traviata (Fondazione del Teatro del Maggio Musicale, Komische opera Berlin); Amonasro, Aida (Theater St. Gallen)

Last updated: July 2019

Giuseppe Altomare

Rigoletto

Seattle Opera Debut
Aug. 11, 14, 18, & 24

Madison Leonard

Gilda

At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Adina, The Elixir of Love

Hometown: Coeur d'Alene, ID
Seattle Opera Debut: Chrisann Brennan, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs (’19)
Previously at Seattle Opera: Gilda, Rigoletto ('19); Frasquita, Carmen ('19)
Recently: Gilda, Rigoletto (Austin Opera); Ilia, Idomeneo (Wolf Trap Opera); Morgana, Alcina (Washington National Opera)
Upcoming: Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro (Dallas Opera); Mabel, The Pirates of Penzance (Utah Opera)

Last Updated: August 2020

Madison Leonard

Gilda

Aug. 10, 17, 23, 25, & 28

Soraya Mafi

Gilda

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Gilda, Rigoletto

Hometown: Manchester, UK
Seattle Opera Debut: Flora, The Turn of the Screw (’18)
Recently: Gretel, Hansel and Gretel (Grange Park Opera); Cintia, La Divisione del Mondo (Opéra National du Rhin); Tytania, A Midsummer Night's Dream (English National Opera)
Upcoming: Yum-Yum, The Mikado (English National Opera); Susannah, The Marriage of Figaro (Welsh National Opera); Johanna, Sweeney Todd (Zurich Opera)

Last Updated: July 2019

Soraya Mafi

Gilda

Aug. 11, 14, 18, & 24

Liparit Avetisyan

Duke of Mantua

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Duke of Mantua, Rigoletto
At Seattle Opera in 2020/21: Nemorino, The Elixir of Love

Hometown: Yerevan, Armenia
Seattle Opera Debut: Duke of Mantua, Rigoletto
Recently: Alfredo, La traviata (Royal Opera House, Covent Garden); Alfredo, La traviata (Zürich Opera); Duke of Mantua, Rigoletto (Opera Australia)
Upcoming: Alfredo, La traviata (Hamburg State Opera); Alfredo, La traviata (Bavarian State Opera); Nemorino, The Elixir of Love (Glyndebourne Festival)

Last Updated: December 2019

Liparit Avetisyan

Duke of Mantua

Seattle Opera Debut
Aug. 10, 17, 23, 25, & 28

Yongzhao Yu

Duke of Mantua

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Duke of Mantua, Rigoletto

Hometown: Houston, TX
Seattle Opera Debut
Recently: Rodolfo, La bohème (Houston Grand Opera); Romeo, Romeo and Juliet (National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing); Don José, Carmen (Seiji Ozawa Music Academy)
Upcoming: Rodolfo, La bohème (Arizona Opera) 

Last Updated: June 2019 

Yongzhao Yu

Duke of Mantua

Seattle Opera Debut
Aug. 11, 14, 18, & 24

Ante Jerkunica

Sparafucile

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Sparafucile, Rigoletto

Hometown: Split, Croatia
Seattle Opera Debut: Sarastro, The Magic Flute (’17)
Recently: Graf Rodolfo, La sonnambula (Deutsche Oper Berlin); Pimen, Boris Godunow (Deutsche Oper Berlin); Tzar Zultan, Tzar Saltan (Bruxelles)
Upcoming: Timur, Turandot (Gran Teatre del Liceu); Sparafucile/Count Monterone, Rigoletto (Bayerische Staatsoper München); Gurnemanz, Parsifal (Opéra du Rhin Strasbourg)

Last Updated: July 2019

Ante Jerkunica

Sparafucile

Aug. 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, & 28

Emily Fons

Maddalena

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Maddalena, Rigoletto

Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Seattle Opera Debut: Laurene Powell Jobs, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs ('19)
Recently: Poppea, The Coronation of Poppea (Opera Theatre of St. Louis); Hansel, Hansel and Gretel (Michigan Opera Theatre); Cherubino, The Marriage of Figaro (Boston Lyric Opera)
Upcoming: Angelina, Cinderella (Atlanta Opera); Hansel, Hansel and Gretel (Canadian Opera Company); Rosina, The Barber of Seville (San Diego Opera)

Last updated: July 2019

 

Emily Fons

Maddalena

Aug. 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, & 28

Nerys Jones

Giovanna

At Seattle Opera in 2019/20: Giovanna, Rigoletto

Hometown: Llanfair Caereinion, Wales 
Previously at Seattle Opera: Inez, Il trovatore ('19)
Recently: Second Lady, The Magic Flute (Vashon Opera); Marcellina, The Marriage of Figaro (Tacoma Opera); Female Chorus, The Rape of Lucretia (Tacoma Opera)
Upcoming: Recitals in Vancouver BC and Seattle; Soloist, Messiah (Orchestra Seattle and the Seattle Chamber Singers)

Last updated: July 2019

Nerys Jones

Giovanna

Aug. 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, & 28