Giuseppe Verdi’s La maledizione
Ever since its premiere in 1851 at La Fenice, Venice, Verdi’s three acts opera, Rigoletto has captivated the hearts of millions of opera lovers across the world. With its haunting tale of hatred and revenge, along with romantic score and the dark portrayal of struggle of hopeless lovers, the opera is no doubt an evergreen work of art. Based on Francesco Maria Piave’s Italian libretto, the opera was initially released to face serious censorship issues with the Australian censor board, which at that time had complete control over the Italian theatres. Eventually on 11th of March, it debuted in Venice to a sold out venue, under the name of La maledizione.
A Tale Dipped In Revenge and Love
Many consider Rigoletto as the very first masterpiece of Verdi’s transitory middle career. The tragic story of the opera revolves around three main characters, the beautiful Gilda, her father the court jester named Rigoletto, and the Duke of Mantua. The original name of the opera, La maledizione means “the curse” and refers to the curse cast on Rigoletto and Duke by a courtier, whose daughter was supposedly seduced by the Duke. In that act, Duke had full encouragement of his jester, Rigoletto. The curse reveals itself when eventually jester’s beautiful daughter falls desperately in love with Mantua’s Duke, and dies to save him from his assassins that her own father has hired.
19th Century to the 21st
The debut staging of Rigoletto was conducted by Gaetano Mares, with sets designed by Francesco Bagnara and Giuseppe Bertoja. The effect of the premiere was such that the next morning the lines from the opera were heard being sung by people in the streets. After Verdi’s 1847’s Macbeth, this was the first breakthrough opera and for La Fenice it was also a box office hit. It saw many revivals in the later years and by 1854, had already been taken to all of the major Italian cities. The opera was taken to UK in May of 1853 at the Royal Opera House. It was taken to U.S two years later, and premiered at Academy of Music’s stage.
20th Century onwards, Rigoletto became a standard addition in Italian opera repertoire. It has been reproduced by several opera companies and has been taken all across the world. Rigoletto is one of the few operas that premiered with a blast and even after centuries, continue to keep the generation after generation of audiences captivated.
Boston Lyric Opera’s Rigoletto
The Boston Lyric Opera’s version of Rigoletto has merged some of the finest talents with exceptionally well designed costumes and sets. The whole environment created through the sets and costumes take the audiences centuries back to the Renaissance Italy. The latest LED illumination technology has been used in order to enhance the stage. The lightning scheme and color transformations are by Robert Wierzel.
This production of Rigoletto comes with a twist. You don’t usually get to describe an opera performance as “horrifying” and “raunchy” yet “classy”, but BLO has done something different. Conducted by Christopher Franklin and directed by Tomer Zvulun, Rigoletto has been created by the best creative team of New England. The cast includes Bruce Sledge as The Duke of Mantua, Michael Mayes as Rigoletto and Nadine Sierra, Gilda. From 14th to 19th March, the production will be staged at the Shubert Theatre for the opera lovers to have an unforgettable experience.