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Rigoletto, the hunchback jester in the court of the Duke of Mantua, and
his daughter Gilda  who, in Act III, would die in her father’s arms


by Muriel Feiner
Photos: © Javier del Real | Teatro Real


The Teatro Real will offer on its spectacular stage a series of performances –22 in all — of Verdi’s popular opera Rigoletto between December 2 and January 2, 2024.

The Duke Of Mantua

Rigoletto is a three-act opera composed by Giuseppe Verdi (Bussetto, 1813 – Milan, 1901), with a libretto in Italian by Francesco Maria Piave (simultaneous subtitled translations are displayed above the stage to facilitate its comprehension). Based on the play Le Roi s’amuse (The King Has Fun) by Victor Hugo, it is a “Shakespearan-type” drama filled with passion, deceit, love and revenge whose main protagonist is Rigoletto, the hunchback jester in the court of the Duke of Mantua.

Prior to its premiere in Venice’s La Fenice Theatre on March 11, 1851, the opera encountered serious obstacles when the Censors considered it immoral, obscene and disrespectful because the king (Francis I of France) is depicted as a depraved, corrupt and immoral man. It was finally performed in the theatre and proved to be a great success, and particularly famous is its well-known aria “La donna è mobile”. In fact, Verdi is acclaimed for his operatic trilogy of Rigoletto, Il Trovadore and La Traviata.

Gilda, center

The tragic opera focuses on the Count of Monterone’s “maledizione”, on the court jester, Rigoletto, for mocking his daughter’s dishonor. This curse will cause much suffering to Rigoletto whose daughter Gilda will pay the ultimate price, when she herself is seduced by her libertine master, the Duke of Mantua. The morale at the end: “Only love can overcome the depravation of the soul and shed a burst of light and hope in a dark world”.

The spectacular set design by Sven Jonke and the suggestive lighting by Juan Gómez-Cornejo enhance the tensions of the drama and the contradictions, passions and feelings of the characters, dressed in the original costumes of Ana Garay.

Duke of Mantua and Maddalena, the prostitute who falls in love with the womanizing, morally corrupt duke

This co-production with the Bilbao’s ABAO Opera, Seville’s Teatro de la Maestranza and the Israeli Opera, located in Tel Aviv, is directed by Nicola Luisotti and Christoph Koncz, with Miguel del Arco responsible for the staging. 

The main performers are the baritones Ludovic Tézier, Étienne Dupuis and Quinn Kelsey (Rigoletto), tenors Javier Camarena, Xabier Anduaga and John Osborn (Duke of Mantua), sopranos Adela Zaharia, Julie Fuchs and Ruth Iniesta (Gilda), the basses Simon Lim, Peixin Chen and Gianluca Buratto (Sparafucile) and mezzo-sopranos Marina Viotti, Ramona Zaharia and Martina Belli (Maddalena).


VIDEOS/Teatro Real
press conference


Rigoletto “enfoques”


For more information:


Plaza de Isabel II, s/n, 28013 Madrid

Tel:900 244 848