Musical selection for the 170th anniversary of the opera "Rigoletto" by G. Verdi first staging

Time of action: XVI century. Scene: Mantua.
First performance: Venice, Gran Teatro La Fenice, March 11, 1851.

Now everyone knows so well the melodies from "Rigoletto" - "La donna e mobile" ("Woman is fickle"), quartet ("Bella, figlia dell'amore" - "Oh, young beauty") and others - that is difficult to imagine that they were once considered dangerous and salacious ...

Musical selection comprised from the opera "Rigoletto" by G. Verdi fragments, and recorded from the media stored in the museum Music Library is posted in our Music Library.

The creation of this opera marked a new stage in the composer's creative work. It is based on the drama by Victor Hugo, forbidden for staging. In order to obtain permission from the Austrian censorship, the authors had to agree to changes: Francis I of France became the Duke of Mantua and the rest of the characters were renamed accordingly. In musical drama, the dissolute, frivolous and living only for kicks - lord of Mantua was counterposed to miserable jester. Verdi draws his characters on the move and in development.

Verdi's music is full of deep drama, bright contrast and is psychologically profound. Each of the characters is presented as the accomplished brainchild that requires high singing and stage skills from the performer. Vocal numbers (arias) went hand in hand with dramatic action and changed their character away from it. The ensembles were interpreted in a new way.

From the very first performance, the opera was a great success, that was growing from performance to performance, it soon appeared on the stages of other Italian theaters, and then crossed the borders of Italy. It was staged in 1852 in Vienna, then in Pest, Prague and London. Italian troupes spread its fame all over the world. In Paris, "Rigoletto" was staged only in 1857, since Victor Hugo protested, being indignant at the distortion of his drama text. However, upon hearing the opera, the writer was delighted with the music, especially the quartet.

In Russia, for the first time “Rigoletto” was performed by the artists of the Imperial Italian Opera in St. Petersburg on January 31, 1853. The censorship was be distrustful of the opera plot and for a long time did not permit the masterpiece by Verdi on the Russian stage. On October 20, 1859, the first performance by Russian singers took place - in Moscow, on the stage of the Bolshoi Theater, in the Italian language. “Rigoletto” was performed in Russian for the first time in St. Petersburg on November 6, 1878. Opera quickly became a repertoire one. Among its best performers are M. Battistini, P. Khokhlov, I. Tartakov, G. Baklanov, Tito Gobbi, Al. Ivanov, N. Figner, L. Sobinov, D. Smirnov, E. Caruso, G. di Stefano, L. Pavarotti, I. Kozlovsky, S. Lemeshev (Duke); L. Lipkovskaya, A. Nezhdanova, A. Galli-Curci, Toti dal Monte, Maria Callas (Gilda). F. Stravinsky remained an unequalled performer of the Sparafucile part. The production of the by K. Stanislavsky was a significant event. Rigoletto was one of the most popular works in the musical theater repertoire.

The opera was filmed in 1946 (directed by Carmelo Gallone, Tito Gobbi – “Rigoletto”), in 1983 its television version was created (directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle; Ingvar Wixell - Rigoletto, L. Pavarotti - Herzog, Edita Gruberov - Gilda).


Ref.: A. Gozenpud (www.belcanto.ru);  M. Druskin (www.belcanto.ru)