In Rigoletto, Verdi charts the fate of his larger-than-life characters -- the tormented jester trying to avenge himself on his heartless playboy employer the Duke of Mantua, who has carelessly seduced Rigoletto's innocent daughter Gilda -- in music of immense theatrical punch and instant memorability. Based on Victor Hugo's controversial play, Le Roi s'amuse, Verdi's 1851 tragedy caused one of his many rows with the censors before its Venetian premiere. Following a few minor compromises, the work triumphed locally, then internationally. The score's most celebrated highlights -- the Duke's 'Questa o quella' and 'La donna e mobile', Gilda's 'Caro nome', and the famous quartet (which Hugo believed actually improved on his play at that point in the action) -- are among the best known set-pieces in all opera. First seen in 2001, David McVicar's production teems with life and colour and, with Tanya McCallin's period costumes and Michael Vale's starkly effective sets, it provides an ideal frame for Verdi's exploration of love, emotional betrayal and the darkest revenge.
Rigoletto: Dimitri Platanias
Marullo: ZhengZhong Zhou
Gilda: Ekaterina Siurina
Count Monterone: Gianfranco Montresor
Duke of Mantua: Vittorio Grigolo
Giovanna: Elizabeth Sikora
Matteo Borsa: Pablo Bemsch
Page: Andrea Hazell
Count Ceprano: Jihoon Kim
Court Usher: Nigel Cliffe
Countess Ceprano: Susana Gaspar
Maddalena: Christine Rice
Royal Opera Chorus
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
Set design: Michael Vale
Stage Director: David McVicar
Costume designs: Tanya McCallin
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Watch videos with other singers performing La donna e mobile:
DUCA La donna è mobile Qual piuma al vento, Muta d'accento E di pensiero. Sempre un amabile Leggiadro viso, In pianto o in riso È menzognero.
È sempre misero Chi a lei s'affida, Chi le confida Mal cauto il core! Pur mai non sentesi Felice appieno Chi su quel seno Non liba amore!
La donna è mobile, ecc.
Sparafucile rientra con una bottiglia di vino e due bicchieri che depone sulla tavola: quindi batte col pomo della sua lunga spada due colpi al soffitto. A quel segnale una ridente giovane, in costume di zingara, scende a salti la scala. Il Duca corre per abbracciarla, ma ella gli sfugge. Frattanto Sparafucile, uscito sulla via, dice a parte a Rigoletto:
SPARAFUCILE È là il vostr'uomo …viver dee o morire?
RIGOLETTO Più tardi tornerò l'opra a compire.
Sparafucile s'allontana dietro la casa verso il fiume.
English Libretto or Translation:
DUKE Women are as fickle as feathers in the wind, simple in speech, and simple in mind. Always the loveable, sweet, laughing face, but laughing or crying, the face is false for sure.
If you rely on her you will regret it, and if you trust her you are undone! Yet none can call himself fully contented who has not tasted love in her arms!
Women are as fickle, etc.
Sparafucile returns with a bottle of wine and two glasses, which he puts on the table; then he strikes the ceiling twice with the pommel of his sword. At this signal, a buxom young woman in gypsy costume comes jumping down the stairs. The Duke runs to kiss her, but she eludes him. Meanwhile, Sparafucile, having slipped out into the road, speaks softly to Rigoletto:
SPARAFUCILE Your man's in there. Is he to live or die?
RIGOLETTO I'll come back later to conclude our business.
Sparafucile moves off behind the house in the direction of the river.