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Salt Lake City

Utah Opera



Giuseppe Verdi’s enduring masterpiece was premiered in 1851 and is based on the Victor Hugo play, Le roi s’amuse. The project initially raised the eyebrows of the police censors in the commissioning city of Venice, but by the time word of this got to Verdi, he had found his muse and insisted on continuing. Further drama would soon ensue, pitting Verdi and his librettist against the will of “official opinion.” Luckily a compromise was reached, one that allowed Verdi to retain many essential story elements, most notably the iconic hunched back of the title character.

The action follows Rigoletto, a duke’s jester, whose insensitive mocking of another man’s anger earns him a curse and an eventual loss of horrific proportions. Rigoletto is both contributor and victim to the opera’s proceedings and, in the end, suffers most as a result of the complications that come from a life in service to an awful man, who reserves even the opera’s most famous music for himself.