Rigoletto - Opera Prague

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Together with La traviata and Il trovatore, Rigoletto (1851) is an opera that made Verdi famous worldwide. Its theme, taken over from Victor Hugo’s drama Le roi s’amuse, is the tragic story of the court jester Rigoletto and his beautiful daughter Gilda, who falls victim to her father’s promiscuous master, the Duke of Mantua. The genesis of the work, written for the Teatro La Fenice, was quite dramatic in itself. The Venice police intervened and subjected the original version to censorship, claiming that the theme was “tastelessly immoral” and “offensive to His Royal Majesty”. 



The librettist Francesco Maria Piave carried out acceptable revisions, replaced the character of the King with the Duke, omitted the hunchback personage and the motif of curse, and changed the working title La maledizione to Il duco di Vendôme. Yet Verdi insisted that the main story line be preserved and that Triboletto (as the hunchback was originally called) remain an outcast living on the edge of society. Ultimately, a compromise was reached and the opera was given a new title, the one we know it by today – Rigoletto. The world premiere on 11 March 1851 in Venice was a triumph and the Duke’s cynical song “La donna e mobile” (The woman is fickle) was sung by people in the streets the very next day. Verdi’s splendid melodies and the masterful depiction of the lead characters still enchant opera-lovers around the world.



The opera is staged in Italian original version and Czech and English surtitles are used in the performance.



Duration of the performance: 2 hours and 20 minutes, 2 intermissions

Program and cast

Prague State Opera

The State Opera today

 

The State Opera (formerly the State Opera Prague, between 1948 and 1992 the Smetana Theatre, and originally the New German Theatre) has been a part of the National Theatre since 2012. The Opera and Ballet ensembles give repertory performances at the State Opera.

 

History

 

The Prague State Opera resides in the building which on January 5, 1888 was opened as a Prague German stage with the performance of Wagner’s opera, The Mastersingers of Nürnberg. In the 19th century, Prague Germans performed in the Estate’s Theater in alternation with a Czech company. Desire for their own theater led to negotiations in 1883 for the construction of a new theater building for the German Theater Association. Over the next three years, a blueprint was drawn up and handed over to the Vienna atelier of Fellner and Hellmer. Also sharing in the design was the architect of the Vienna Municipal Theater, Karl Hasenauer, while Prague architect Alfons Wertmüller took part in the construction. Financing came from private collections. With its spacious auditorium and neo-Rococo decoration, this theater building is among the most beautiful in Europe.

 

Access:

 

By car

On Wilsonova street, from the left lane close to the State Opera building take the slip road to the Slovan above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.

 

By tram

 

By daytime tram No. 11 to the stop “Muzeum”, through the underpass beneath Legerova street in the direction of the NationalMuseum, at the crossroads turn right along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

 

By daytime trams Nos. 3, 9, 14 and 24 or night trams Nos. 51, 52, 54, 55, 56 and 58 to the stop “Václavské náměstí”, then by foot uphill on the left side of the Wenceslas Square to the traffic lights across Wilsonova and Vinohradská streets. Then turn left along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

 

By metro

To the “Muzeum” station, lines A and C (green and red), and then by foot along the NewBuilding of the NationalMuseum.

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