Giuseppi Verdi‘s Rigoletto, takes place in Mantua, one of my favorite cities in northern Italy. Le Roi s’Amuse, a play of intrigue, treachery, and revenge, written by Victor Hugo, greatly impressed Verdi for an operatic plot. Originally, the opera was written for the Teatro La Fenice, but because of political unrest of the time, the authorities concerned it unwise to present a story of royal decadence and philandering. Consequently, the location of the opera was changed to the Ducal Palace of Mantua, a petty Italian nobleman, and the opera was retitled Rigoletto. Verdi wrote the opera in about six weeks, which premiered in Venice in 1851 with spectacular success.
Act 1 Scene 1 – At a ball at the Ducale Palace, Count Monterone appeals to the Duke for the return of his dishonored daughter, but is cruelly mocked the hunchbacked jester Rigoletto. The enraged Monterone places a curse on Rigoletto which terrifies him.