Rigoletto at the Bolshoi



Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Opéra national du Rhin (Strasburg), Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie (Belgium), Grand Théâtre de Genève and Bolshoi Theatre of Russia Coproduction

Premiered at the Bolshoi Theatre on 14 December 2014

Wednesday April 1, 2015
Thursday April2, 2015
Friday April 3, 2015,
Saturday April4, 2015
Sunday April 5, 2015

Running time: 2 hours 40 minutes.
Presented with one interval.


Music Director: Evelino Pidò
Stage Director: Robert Carsen
Set Designer: Radu Boruzescu
Costume Designer: Miruna Boruzescu
Lighting designers: Peter Van Praet, Robert Carsen
Choreographer: Philippe Giraudeau
Chorus Master: Valery Borisov

Alekseyev-Gillet-Damir-Yusupov Paesano-DamirYusupov





Alexander Soloviev
The Duke of Mantua Fabrizio Paesano
Rigoletto, the Duke’s jester Valery Alexeyev
Gilda, his daughter Kristina Mkhitaryan
Sparafucile, an assassin Oleg Tsybulko
Maddalena, his sister Justina Gringyte
Giovanna, Gilda’s Nurse Alexandra Durseneva
Count Monterone Vyacheslav Pochapsky
Marullo Konstantin Shushakov
Matteo Borsa, a courtier Arseny Yakovlev
Count Ceprano Nikolai Kazansky
Countess Ceprano, his wife Daria Davydova
A Court Usher Sergei Vasilchenko
A Page Ruslana Koval

Alekseyev-Pochapsky-Damir-Yusupov DimitrisTilyakos-OlegChernous Kovalevich-Tsymbalyuk-Chernous Mkhitaryan-2-Chernous

Synopsis by Robert Carsen

Act I

During a ball at the Duke of Mantova’s, the latter confesses to his friend Borsa his desire to seduce a young girl he has seen in church. But his attention goes to all women, including the spouse of Count Ceprano. Rigoletto, the Duke’s court jester, overtly encourages him to get rid of the unwanted husband, which makes Ceprano furious. As for Marullo, he announces to everyone an astonishing discovery, namely that Rigoletto would have a mistress. Ceprano sticks to his revenge: that very same night he will abduct the mistress in question. The ball is cut short by Count Monterone, who accuses the Duke of having dishonoured his daughter. Rigoletto’s persistent mockeries lead Monterone to curse him.

Tormented by the curse, the jester goes back home. On his way, he meets Sparafucile, a hitman who offers him his services. Left to himself, Rigoletto compares both professions: the hitman uses his sword where the jester uses his word. He then meets up with his daughter Gilda, whom he forbids to leave the house except to go to church. Gilda questions him in vain on his past and her mother’s death. Rigoletto, as he believes he hears some noise, goes out in the street. It is the Duke, who has come to spy on the mysterious unknown young woman and who now understands that she is his jester’s daughter. Rigoletto comes back to take leave of his daughter. Gilda then confesses to her governess Giovanna that she has met a very seductive young man in church. The Duke appears, declares his love, passing himself off as a student named Gualtier Maldè, and then leaves. Gilda dreams of her beloved, whereas as Ceprano, Borsa and the other courtiers are watching her, believing she is Rigoletto’s mistress. The latter chances upon them, as he retraces his steps. They claim they pretend they want to abduct Ceprano’s wife. Rigoletto accepts to wear a mask and takes part in the abduction only to enable the courtiers to flee with Gilda. The jester understands too late that he has been tricked and believes it to be the effect of Monterone’s curse.Mkhitaryan-Chernous Rigoletto-Romanovsky-Gringyte-photo-by-Chernous

Act II

The Duke is lamenting that the young woman he coveted has been abducted. The courtiers reassure him however: they are the ones who abducted Rigoletto’s mistress. Consumed by desire, the Duke goes to meet with Gilda. Feigning indifference when he is actually in despair, Rigoletto starts to search for his daughter. As he understands she is with the Duke, he discloses she is his daughter and begs the courtiers to give her back. Gilda then appears and throws herself in her father’s arms. Once alone with Rigoletto, she confesses she is in love with the Duke. A court usher interrupts the confidences, announcing that Monterone is arrested and will be jailed. Rigoletto offers him his vengeance.

Rigoletto-Romanovsky-Mkhitaryan-photo-by-Chernous Tiliakos-Damir-Yusupov


Determined to show his daughter the true nature of her seducer, Rigoletto obliges her to watch him court Maddalena, the sister of Sparafucile. To carry out his vengeance, the jester, together with Sparafucile, plots the Duke’s assassination and then demands of Gilda that she leave the city. When the Duke falls asleep, Maddalena begs his brother to spare him. Sparafucile ends up accepting on the condition however that another victim falls under his sword. Gilda has overheard their discussion and offers to sacrifice herself out of love. She knocks on the door and Sparafucile stabs her just before Rigoletto arrives to find the body. The jester rejoices in his vengeance and sets out to rid himself of the corpse he has been delivered in a sack. In the distance, the Duke’s voice can be heard. Rigoletto then discovers his daughter’s body who dies in his arms: he cries out, horrified, “La maledizione!” (The Curse!)


Photos by Oleg Chernous and Damir Yusupov,

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