Thursday, July 25, 2019

Listen now to the podcast: 'Rigoletto 101'

Various productions of Rigoletto, including center: Rigoletto, Opera Queensland, 2014 © Stephanie Do Rozario. Top, left: Dalibor Jenis as Rigoletto at the Sydney Opera House; Image by Prudence Upton. Bottom, left: Giuseppe Verdi, Rigoletto. Regia di John Turturro. Teatro Regio, Torino 2019. Top right: Quinn Kelsey (Rigoletto) and Nino Machaidze (Gilda) © Cory Weaver, San Francisco Opera. Bottom right: Fikile Mvinjelwa as Rigoletto and Noluvuyiso Mpofu as Gilda, photo Courtesy of Capetown Opera.
Curious to learn more about Verdi's masterpiece, Rigoletto? Here's an excerpt of a recent Seattle Opera podcast hosted by Dramaturg Jonathan Dean:

"Rigoletto is one of the greatest operas ever written. As a composition it's perfect. And it's so accessible that even little kids can find something compelling and meaningful in this opera. I'm living proof of that, because I first became completely obsessed with Rigoletto when I was 8 or 9. What first attracted me were the melodies...when I was a little kid, I was just socially sophisticated enough to understand that there was something dangerous, illicit and excruciatingly awkward and painfulbut also real and therefore, really importantabout the drama, the tragedy, at the center of Rigoletto.

(This opera) is accessible to kids because it's playground politics: teasing and bullying, and puffing yourself up by putting others down, an opera about vicious social hierarchy, and it's an opera about how destructive it is to split your life into shards, to become "Person A" when you're with these people, but "Person B" when you're with those people.

Rigoletto started off as a play so politically liberal it was considered revolutionary propaganda and banned. The liberal politics became less central in the opera, but the sexual politics are even more clear. Rigoletto is an unbelievably brilliant, scathing, tragedy about sexual politics. It's the tragedy of a society where men are given one set of instructions, and women another. A society that encourages female chastity and male promiscuity, where people say with a wink 'Boys will be boys!,' but punish girls for cooperating such boys." ⁠—Jonathan Dean

For more, tune in to the Seattle Opera podcast episode titled Rigoletto 101

Rigoletto plays Aug. 10-28, 2019 at McCaw Hall. 
Tickets & info: