Radio 3's Verdi 200 celebrations continue with a live performance from the Met of one of Verdi's most popular works, Rigoletto.
Verdi and his librettist Piave based the work on a drama by Victor Hugo which had been banned after just one performance. The problem was that it showed a king as immoral and as a womaniser.
In Piave's libretto the king was changed to a duke who ruled over Mantua. This placated the censors and eventually the premiere went ahead at La Fenice in Venice. It was a great success with the Duke's aria La donna e mobile an immediate hit. It also contains one of the most heartfelt father daughter relationships in all of Verdi's work, between the court jester Rigoletto and Gilda.
This new production by Michael Mayer sets the action in Las Vegas in 1960 and stars the Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic in the title role with German soprano Diana Damrau as Gilda and the Polish tenor Piotr Beczala as the Duke.
Rigoletto..... Zeljko Lucic (baritone)
Gilda..... Diana Damrau (soprano)
Duke of Mantua..... Piotr Beczala (tenor)
Sparafucile..... Stefan Kocan (bass)
Maddalena..... Oksana Volkova (mezzo-soprano)
Giovanna...... Edyta Kulczak (mezzo-soprano)
Count Ceprano.....David Crawford (bass)
Countess Ceprano.....Emalie Savoy (mezzo-soprano)
Matteo Borsa.....Alexander Lewis (tenor)
Count Monterone.....Robert Pomakov (baritone)
Marullo.....Jeff Mattsey (baritone)
A Court Usher.....Earle Patriarco (bass)
A Page.....Catherine Choi (mezzo-soprano)
Chorus and Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera, New York
Michele Mariotti, conductor.