Opera Scotland

Rigoletto

Tours by decade

1860s - 2 tours

1867 - Madame Lancia's Grand English Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1869 - Grand Italian Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1880s - 1 tour

1882 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1890s - 1 tour

1891 - Arthur Rousbey's English Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1900s - 5 tours

1905 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1906 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1907 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1908 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1909 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1910s - 5 tours

1910 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1917 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1918 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1919 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1920s - 9 tours

1920 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1920 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1923 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1925 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1925 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1926 - British National Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1929 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1930s - 4 tours

1930 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1935 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1938 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1940s - 9 tours

1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1942 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1942 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1943 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1946 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1947 - Covent Garden Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1947 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1950s - 12 tours

1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1951 - Covent Garden Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1953 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1955 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1957 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1959 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1959 - Royal Opera, Stockholm
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1960s - 4 tours

1962 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1964 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1968 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1969 - Teatro Comunale, Florence
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1970s - 4 tours

1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1973 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1973 - Tayside Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1979 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1980s - 3 tours

1980 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1984 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1987 - Finnish National Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1990s - 1 tour

1997 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2000s - 2 tours

2003 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2006 - Ellen Kent Productions
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2010s - 9 tours

2011 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2011 - Scottish Opera
Opera Unwrapped
2011 - Scottish Opera
Pre-show Talk
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Cinema Screening
2013 - Andrew Roger
Pre-show Talk
2013 - Royal Opera, Covent Garden
Cinema Screening
2015 - Ellen Kent Productions
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2017 - Clyde Opera Group
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2018 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

Tours by location

Scotland, UK - 141 entries

1867 - Madame Lancia's Grand English Opera Company
Glasgow
1869 - Grand Italian Opera
Glasgow
1869 - Grand Italian Opera
Edinburgh
1882 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1882 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1891 - Arthur Rousbey's English Opera Company
Dundee
1905 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1906 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1907 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1908 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1909 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Greenock
1909 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1910 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Aberdeen
1910 - Castellano Grand Italian Opera
Dundee
1917 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1917 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1918 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1919 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1920 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1920 - O'Mara Grand Opera Company
Aberdeen
1920 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1922 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1923 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1925 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1925 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1925 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1926 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1926 - British National Opera Company
Glasgow
1926 - British National Opera Company
Edinburgh
1929 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1930 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1930 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1935 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1938 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1938 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1939 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1940 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1942 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1942 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1942 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1942 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1943 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1943 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1944 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1945 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1946 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1946 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1947 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1947 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1947 - Covent Garden Opera
Glasgow
1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1950 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1951 - Covent Garden Opera
Edinburgh
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1951 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Aberdeen
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1952 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1953 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Glasgow
1953 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Edinburgh
1953 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Aberdeen
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1954 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Edinburgh
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1955 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Dundee
1955 - Iskoldoff Italian Opera Company
Glasgow
1956 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1957 - Carl Rosa Opera Company
Glasgow
1959 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1959 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Dundee
1959 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1959 - Royal Opera, Stockholm
Edinburgh
1962 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1962 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Aberdeen
1962 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1964 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1964 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1968 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1969 - Teatro Comunale, Florence
Edinburgh
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Duns, Berwickshire
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Kirkcaldy
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Kirkcudbright
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Forfar
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Arbroath
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Crieff
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Grantown on Spey
1972 - Scottish Opera for All
Brora
1973 - Scottish Opera
Dollar
1973 - Scottish Opera
Oban, Argyll
1973 - Tayside Opera
Dundee
1979 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1979 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1980 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1984 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1984 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1984 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1987 - Finnish National Opera
Edinburgh
1997 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1997 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2003 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2003 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2006 - Ellen Kent Productions
Edinburgh
2006 - Ellen Kent Productions
Glasgow
2006 - Ellen Kent Productions
Dundee
2006 - Ellen Kent Productions
Aberdeen
2011 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2011 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2011 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2011 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2011 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2011 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2011 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2011 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2011 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2011 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2011 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2011 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2013 - Andrew Roger
Dundee
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Glasgow
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Dundee
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Aberdeen
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Galashiels
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Edinburgh
2013 - Metropolitan Opera
Falkirk
2013 - Royal Opera, Covent Garden
Paisley
2015 - Ellen Kent Productions
Edinburgh
2015 - Ellen Kent Productions
Aberdeen
2017 - Clyde Opera Group
Glasgow
2018 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2018 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2018 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2018 - Scottish Opera
Inverness

England, UK - 2 entries

Northern Ireland, UK - 2 entries

Ireland - 1 entry

Music
Giuseppe Verdi (born Busseto, 10 October 1813; died Milan, 27 January 1901)

Text
Francesco Maria Piave.

Source
French play Le roi s’amuse (1832) by Victor Hugo (1802-1885).

Premières
First performance: Venice (Teatro la Fenice), 11 March 1851.
First UK performance: London (Covent Garden), 14 May 1853.
First performance in Scotland: Glasgow (Royal Colosseum) 11 December 1867.
Scottish Opera première: Glasgow (Theatre Royal), 18 April 1979.

Background
Hugo’s play was set in early 16th century Paris, under the reign of the notoriously dissolute King Francis I. Even in Paris it met with censorship problems, and Verdi fell in with the strictures of the authorities by moving the action to one of the Italian ducal states of the same period. Nevertheless he was able to retain most of the elements of the character of the piece that still give it a powerful effect even today. After its initial success in Venice, it was still a controversial opera for managements to try out and was given many adjustments in the early years – it might be fun for audiences in Scotland to be exposed to a piece called Clara di Perth one day. The corruption of the court is vividly depicted in the opening scene, and Rigoletto is portrayed as a thoroughly unpleasant character. It is a sign of the power of the work and of the characterization of the title role that he must quickly gain the audience’s sympathy for the plot to work.

Main Characters
Duke of Mantua (tenor)
Matteo Borsa, a gentleman of the court (tenor)
Marullo, another gentleman (baritone)
Count Ceprano (baritone)
Rigoletto, the Duke’s jester (baritone)
Count Monterone (bass)
Sparafucile, a professional criminal (bass)
Gilda, Rigoletto’s daughter (soprano)
Maddalena, Sparafucile’s sister (mezzo-soprano)

Plot Summary
Events take place in or near Mantua, in northern Italy. The opening scene shows the degree of debauchery to which the court has been reduced. The Duke is attempting to seduce Countess Ceprano in spite of her husband’s objections. Monterone arrives to complain about the earlier seduction of his daughter by the Duke. Rigoletto jeers at him, and as Monterone leaves he curses both the Duke and Rigoletto, though only the jester is frightened by this. On his way home, Rigoletto is approached by Sparafucile, who offers his professional services, should they ever be required. Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, has been raised in secret, and is fascinated by a young student she has seen at church – the Duke in disguise. In spite of Rigoletto’s attempts to keep her safe, a gang of courtiers abduct her, thinking she is the jester’s mistress. Back at court, Rigoletto establishes that Gilda is now with the Duke. When she joins him, he comforts her, and when Monterone goes by, on his way to execution, Rigoletto swears he will be avenged. His attempt to have the Duke killed by Sparafucile misfires, however, and Gilda dies instead – Monterone’s curse has taken effect.

RECORDINGS

DG (2 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1979

Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
Orchestra of Vienna State Opera
Piero Cappuccilli (Rigoletto), Plàcido Domingo (Duke), Ileana Cotrubas (Gilda).

As with most of the recordings he made in the later stage of his career, Giulini is not in any way rushed. However he still builds up a fair head of steam as the drama intensifies. He is greatly helped by the cast. Cappuccilli was a wonderful baritone, especially in Verdi roles, and he is difficult to fault. Cotrubas is almost ideal as Gilda – she has the power when required in the Act 2 finale and the storm trio, but is ideally girlish in the early stages. Perhaps the greatest surprise is the success Domingo has with the Duke – he was already singing Otello by this stage, but he doesn’t seem to have a problem with the more obviously light and youthful elements of the part. In Nicolai Ghiaurov and Kurt Moll there are two basses well suited to the roles of Sparafucile and Monterone. The only slight weakness is perhaps the unsubtle Maddalena of the Russian mezzo Elena Obraztsova. But she only appears in the last act.

OPUS ARTE (1 DVD) Sung in Italian Recorded 2000

Conductor: Edward Downes Director: David McVicar Designers: Michael Vale & Tanya McCallin.
Orchestra of Royal Opera House
Paolo Gavanelli (Rigoletto), Marcelo Alvares (Duke), Christine Schäfer (Gilda).

Edward Downes had conducted dozens of performances of Rigoletto at Covent Garden by the time this last production arrived. His pacing is superb and a vivid sense of drama builds up as soon as the curtain rises, and is maintained right to the end. The general appearance emphasises the wide contrast between squalid sets on the one hand and quite lavish costumes on the other, all well lit by Paule Constable. How well the distinctly lively goings-on in the party scenes will revive in later seasons remains to be seen, but the chorus and extras seem to be enjoying themselves thoroughly. Gavanelli is very effective as a nasty Rigoletto, costumed in black leather so that he looks like a little beetle scuttling around the stage. Alvarez is an excellent Duke, and Eric Halfvarson is especially good as a creepy Sparafucile. Giovan Battista Parodi as Monterone and Quentin Hayes as Marullo also make a positive impression. Christine Schäfer is perhaps slightly light voiced for some of Gilda’s more powerful moments, but the voice is well focussed.

EMI & others (2 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1955

Conductor: Tullio Serafin
Orchestra of La Scala Milan
Tito Gobbi (Rigoletto), Giuseppe di Stefano (Duke), Maria Callas (Gilda).

This classic old recording is still well worth hearing, in spite of the less than perfect sound quality and the cuts that were traditional.at the time. Gobbi is an extraordinarily effective Rigoletto, and Callas‘s Gilda is unusually powerful when that is required. Di Stefano’s uninhibited and open-throated singing, which can be wearing on the ear, is generally appropriate here. The veteran Serafin gives the performance plenty of energy when required. The performances in other roles are fine, with Nicola Zaccaria a good Sparafucile. Plinio Clabassi thunders effectively as Monterone (just as he did in the 1969 Edinburgh performances), and it is nice to hear the Scottish baritone William Dickie as Marullo. He sang the title role early in his career (Florence 1944) and was a leading baritone at Covent Garden in the 1950s.

The Cast

Count Ceprano
 a courtier
Count Monterone
 
Countess Ceprano
 
Duke of Mantua
 
Gilda
 Rigoletto's daughter
Giovanna
 Gilda's duenna
Lady in waiting
 
Maddalena
 sister of Sparafucile
Marullo
 a courtier
Matteo Borsa
 a courtier
Page
 to the Duchess
Rigoletto
 a jester
Sparafucile
 a professional assassin
Usher
 

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