Opera National de Paris tickets 24 May 2025 - Rigoletto | GoComGo.com

Rigoletto

Opera National de Paris, Paris, France
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7:30 PM
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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Paris, France
Starts at: 19:30
Acts: 3
Intervals: 1
Duration: 2h 45min
Sung in: Italian
Titles in: French,English

E-tickets: Print at home or at the box office of the event if so specified. You will find more information in your booking confirmation email.

You can only select the category, and not the exact seats.
If you order 2 or 3 tickets: your seats will be next to each other.
If you order 4 or more tickets: your seats will be next to each other, or, if this is not possible, we will provide a combination of groups of seats (at least in pairs, for example 2+2 or 2+3).

Cast
Performers
Bass: Alexander Tsymbalyuk (Sparafucile)
Conductor: Andrea Battistoni
Choir: Choir of the Opéra national de Paris
Tenor: Dmitry Korchak (Duke of Mantua)
Baritone: George Gagnidze (Rigoletto)
Mezzo-Soprano: Justina Gringytė (Maddalena)
Orchestra: Orchestra of the Opéra national de Paris
Soprano: Slávka Zámečníková (Gilda)
Creators
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Video designer: Andi A. Müller
Costume designer: Christian Schmidt
Sets: Christian Schmidt
Director: Claus Guth
Librettist: Francesco Maria Piave
Dramaturge: Konrad Kuhn
Light: Olaf Winter
Scenography: Teresa Rotemberg
Overview

A grief-stricken father before the lifeless body of his child. Such is the heart-rending image evoked by the final bars of Rigoletto. Taking this drama as a point of departure, Claus Guth has conceived a production in which the buffoon sees his life pass before his eyes, a humiliating farce softened only by the presence of his daughter.

“It’s a magnificent, grandiose subject, featuring one of the most extraordinary characters ever created in the theatre and in the world”. With these words, Verdi asked Francesco Maria Piave to write a libretto inspired by Victor Hugo’s Le roi s’amuse. A paradoxical character, Rigoletto is both a deformed buffoon, serving the Duke of Mantua in his seductive endeavours, and the embodiment of fatherly love for his daughter Gilda.

With its wealth of contrasts, the theme of the curse and its unforgettable arias, the opera, premiered at La Fenice in Venice in 1851, became the first of Verdi’s great popular successes alongside Il Trovatore and La Traviata. Claus Guth has conceived his staging as a long flashback in which Rigoletto, wracked with remorse, relives the death of his daughter, to which he unwittingly contributed.

History
Premiere of this production: 11 March 1851, Teatro La Fenice, Venice

Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi. The Italian libretto was written by Francesco Maria Piave based on the play Le roi s'amuse by Victor Hugo. Despite serious initial problems with the Austrian censors who had control over northern Italian theatres at the time, the opera had a triumphant premiere at La Fenice in Venice on 11 March 1851.

Synopsis

Act 1

Scene 1: Mantua. A magnificent hall in the ducal palace. Doors at the back open into other rooms, splendidly lit up. A crowd of lords and ladies in grand costumes are seen walking about in the rear rooms; page boys come and go. The festivities are at their height. Music is heard from offstage. The Duke and Borsa enter from a door in the back.

At a ball in his palace, the Duke sings of a life of pleasure with as many women as possible, and mentions that he particularly enjoys cuckolding his courtiers: "Questa o quella" ("This woman or that"). He mentions to Borsa that he has seen an unknown beauty in church and desires to possess her, but he also wishes to seduce the Countess of Ceprano. Rigoletto, the Duke's hunchbacked court jester, mocks the husbands of the ladies to whom the Duke is paying attention, including the Count Ceprano, and advises the Duke to get rid of him by prison or death. The Duke laughs indulgently, but Ceprano is not amused. Marullo, one of the guests at the ball, informs the courtiers that Rigoletto has a "lover", which astonishes them. (Marullo is not aware that the "lover" is actually Rigoletto's daughter.) The courtiers, at Ceprano's suggestion, resolve to take vengeance on Rigoletto for making fun of them. The festivities are interrupted by the arrival of the elderly Count Monterone, whose daughter the Duke had seduced. Rigoletto provokes him further by making fun of his helplessness to avenge his daughter's honor. Monterone confronts the Duke, and is immediately arrested by the Duke's guards. Before being led off to prison, Monterone curses both the Duke for the attack on his daughter and Rigoletto for having mocked his righteous anger. The curse terrifies Rigoletto, who believes the popular superstition that an old man's curse has real power.

Scene 2: The end of a dead-end street. On the left, a house of discreet appearance with one small courtyard surrounded by walls. In the yard there is one tall tree and a marble seat; in the wall, a door that leads to the street; above the wall, a terrace supported by arches. The second floor door opens on to the said terrace, which can also be reached by a staircase in front. To the right of the street is the very high wall of the garden and a side of the Ceprano palace. It is night.

Preoccupied with the old man's curse, Rigoletto approaches the house where he is concealing his daughter from the world and is accosted by the hit-man Sparafucile, who walks up to him and offers his services. Rigoletto declines for the moment, but leaves open the possibility of hiring Sparafucile later, should the need arise. Sparafucile wanders off, after repeating his own name a few times. Rigoletto contemplates the similarities between the two of them: "Pari siamo!" ("We are alike!"); Sparafucile kills men with his sword, and Rigoletto uses "a tongue of malice" to stab his victims. Rigoletto opens a door in the wall and embraces his daughter Gilda. They greet each other warmly: "Figlia!" "Mio padre!" ("Daughter!" "My father!"). Rigoletto has been concealing his daughter from the Duke and the rest of the city, and she does not know her father's occupation. Since he has forbidden her to appear in public, she has been nowhere except to church and does not even know her own father's name.

When Rigoletto has gone, the Duke appears and overhears Gilda confess to her nurse Giovanna that she feels guilty for not having told her father about a young man she had met at the church. She says that she fell in love with him, but that she would love him even more if he were a student and poor. As she declares her love, the Duke enters, overjoyed. Gilda, alarmed, calls for Giovanna, unaware that the Duke had sent her away. Pretending to be a student, the Duke convinces Gilda of his love: "È il sol dell'anima" ("Love is the sunshine of the soul"). When she asks for his name, he hesitantly calls himself Gualtier Maldè. Hearing sounds and fearing that her father has returned, Gilda sends the Duke away after they quickly trade vows of love: "Addio, addio" ("Farewell, farewell"). Alone, Gilda meditates on her love for the Duke, whom she believes is a student: "Gualtier Maldè!... Caro nome che il mio cor" ("Dearest name").

Later, Rigoletto returns: "Riedo!... perché?" ("I've returned!... why?"), while the hostile courtiers outside the walled garden (believing Gilda to be the jester's mistress, unaware she is his daughter) get ready to abduct the helpless girl. They tell Rigoletto that they are actually abducting the Countess Ceprano. He sees that they are masked and asks for a mask for himself; while they are tying the mask onto his face, they also blindfold him. Blindfolded and deceived, he holds the ladder steady while they climb up to Gilda's room: Chorus: "Zitti, zitti" ("Softly, softly"). With her father's unknowing assistance Gilda is carried away by the courtiers. Left alone, Rigoletto removes his mask and blindfold, and realizes that it was in fact Gilda who was carried away. He collapses in despair, remembering the old man's curse.

Act 2

A room in the ducal palace. There are doors on both sides as well as a larger one at the far end by the sides of which hang full length portraits of the Duke and his wife. There is one high-backed chair at a table covered with velvet and other furnishings.

The Duke is concerned that Gilda has disappeared: "Ella mi fu rapita!" ("She was stolen from me!") and "Parmi veder le lagrime" ("I seem to see tears"). The courtiers then enter and inform him that they have captured Rigoletto's mistress: Chorus: "Scorrendo uniti" ("We went together at nightfall"). By their description, he recognizes it to be Gilda and rushes off to the room where she is held: "Possente amor mi chiama" ("Mighty love beckons me"). Rigoletto enters singing and feigning nonchalance, but also looking anxiously for any trace of Gilda, whom he fears may have fallen into the hands of the Duke. The courtiers pretend not to notice his anxiety, but quietly laugh at him with each other. A page boy arrives with a message from the Duke's wife - the Duchess wishes to speak to her husband - but the courtiers reply suggestively that the Duke cannot be disturbed at the moment. Rigoletto realizes this must mean that Gilda is with the Duke. To the courtiers' surprise, he reveals that Gilda is his daughter. He first demands, then tearfully pleads with the courtiers to return her to him: "Cortigiani, vil razza dannata" ("Accursed race of courtiers"). Rigoletto attempts to run into the room in which Gilda is being held, but the courtiers block his way. After a time, Gilda enters, and Rigoletto orders the courtiers to leave him alone with her. The courtiers leave the room, believing Rigoletto has gone mad. Gilda describes to her father what has happened to her in the palace: "Tutte le feste al tempio" ("On all the holy days") and he attempts to console her. Monterone is led across the room on the way to prison and pauses in front of the portrait of the Duke to regret that his curse on the libertine has had no effect. As the guards lead Monterone away, Rigoletto mutters that the old man is mistaken; he, Rigoletto, the dishonored buffoon, shall make thunder and lightning rain from heaven onto the offender's head. He repeats this vow as Gilda pleads for mercy for her lover the Duke: Duet:"Sì! Vendetta, tremenda vendetta!" ("Yes! Revenge, terrible revenge!").

Act 3

The right bank of the river Mincio. On the left is a two-story house, half ruined. Through a large arch on the ground floor a rustic tavern can be seen as well as a rough stone staircase that leads to an attic room with a small bed which is in full view as there are no shutters. In the wall downstairs that faces the street is a door that opens to the inside. The wall is so full of holes and cracks that everything that happens inside is easily seen from the exterior. At the back of the stage are deserted areas by the river which flows behind a parapet that has half collapsed into ruins. Beyond the river is Mantua. It is night. Gilda and Rigoletto, both uneasy, are standing in the road; Sparafucile is seated at a table in the tavern.

A portion of Sparafucile's house is seen, with two rooms open to the view of the audience. Rigoletto and Gilda arrive outside. The Duke's voice can be heard from inside, singing "La donna è mobile" ("Woman is fickle"). Sparafucile's sister, Maddalena, has lured him to the house. Rigoletto and Gilda listen from outside as the Duke flirts with Maddalena. Gilda laments that the Duke is unfaithful; Rigoletto assures her that he is arranging revenge: "Bella figlia dell’amore" ("Beautiful daughter of love").

Rigoletto orders Gilda to put on a man's clothes to prepare to leave for Verona and tells her that he plans to follow later. After she leaves, he completes his bargain with the assassin, who is ready to murder his guest for 20 scudi. Rigoletto then withdraws.

With falling darkness, a thunderstorm approaches and the Duke decides to spend the rest of the night in the house. Sparafucile directs him to the upstairs sleeping quarters, resolving to kill him in his sleep.

Gilda, who still loves the Duke despite knowing him to be unfaithful, returns dressed as a man and stands outside the house. Maddalena, who is smitten with the Duke, begs Sparafucile to spare his life: "È amabile invero cotal giovinotto/ Ah, più non ragiono!...". Sparafucile reluctantly promises her that if by midnight another victim can be found, he will kill the other instead of the Duke. Gilda, overhearing this exchange, resolves to sacrifice herself for the Duke, and enters the house: "Trio: Se pria ch’abbia il mezzo la notte toccato". Sparafucile stabs her and she collapses, mortally wounded.

At midnight, when Rigoletto arrives with money, he receives a corpse wrapped in a sack, and rejoices in his triumph. Weighting it with stones, he is about to cast the sack into the river when he hears the voice of the Duke, sleepily singing a reprise of his "La donna è mobile" aria. Bewildered, Rigoletto opens the sack and, to his despair, discovers his dying daughter. For a moment, she revives and declares she is glad to die for her beloved: "V'ho ingannato" ("Father, I deceived you"). She dies in his arms. Rigoletto cries out in horror: "La maledizione!" ("The curse!")

Venue Info

Opera National de Paris - Paris
Location   Palais Garnier: Place de l’Opéra, 75009 Paris; Opéra Bastille: Place de la Bastille, 75012 Paris

The Paris Opera is the primary opera and ballet company of France. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra, and shortly thereafter was placed under the leadership of Jean-Baptiste Lully and officially renamed the Académie Royale de Musique, but continued to be known more simply as the Opéra. Classical ballet as it is known today arose within the Paris Opera as the Paris Opera Ballet and has remained an integral and important part of the company. Currently called the Opéra National de Paris, it mainly produces operas at its modern 2700-seat theatre Opéra Bastille which opened in 1989, and ballets and some classical operas at the older 1970-seat Palais Garnier which opened in 1875. Small scale and contemporary works are also staged in the 500-seat Amphitheatre under the Opéra Bastille.

The company's annual budget is in the order of 200 million euros, of which 100 million come from the French state and 70 million from box office receipts. With this money, the company runs the two houses and supports a large permanent staff, which includes the orchestra of 170, a chorus of 110 and the corps de ballet of 150.

Each year, the Opéra presents about 380 performances of opera, ballet and other concerts, to a total audience of about 800,000 people (of whom 17% come from abroad), which is a very good average seat occupancy rate of 94%. In the 2012/13 season, the Opéra presented 18 opera titles (two in a double bill), 13 ballets, 5 symphonic concerts and two vocal recitals, plus 15 other programmes. The company's training bodies are also active, with 7 concerts from the Atelier Lyrique and 4 programmes from the École de Danse.

The Opera under Louis XIV
Pierre Perrin

The poet Pierre Perrin began thinking and writing about the possibility of French opera in 1655, more than a decade before the official founding of the Paris Opera as an institution. He believed that the prevailing opinion of the time that the French language was fundamentally unmusical was completely incorrect. Seventeenth-century France offered Perrin essentially two types of organization for realizing his vision: a royal academy or a public theater. In 1666 he proposed to the minister Colbert that "the king decree 'the establishment of an Academy of Poetry and Music' whose goal would be to synthesize the French language and French music into an entirely new lyric form."

Even though Perrin's original concept was of an academy devoted to discussions of French opera, the king's intention was in fact a unique hybrid of royal academy and public theatre, with an emphasis on the latter as an institution for performance. On 28 June 1669, Louis XIV signed the Privilège accordé au Sieur Perrin pour l'établissement d'une Académie d'Opéra en musique, & Vers François (Privilege granted to Sir Perrin for the establishment of an Academy of Opera in music, & French Verse). The wording of the privilège, based in part on Perrin's own writings, gave him the exclusive right for 12 years to found anywhere in France academies of opera dedicated to the performance of opera in French. He was free to select business partners of his choice and to set the price of tickets. No one was to have the right of free entry including members of the royal court, and no one else could set up a similar institution. Although it was to be a public theatre, it retained its status as royal academy in which the authority of the king as the primary stakeholder was decisive. The monopoly, originally intended to protect the enterprise from competition during its formative phase, was renewed for subsequent recipients of the privilege up to the early French Revolution. As Victoria Johnson points out, "the Opera was an organization by nature so luxurious and expensive in its productions that its very survival depended on financial protection and privilege."

Perrin converted the Bouteille tennis court, located on the Rue des Fossés de Nesles (now 42 Rue Mazarine), into a rectangular facility with provisions for stage machinery and scenery changes and a capacity of about 1200 spectators. His first opera Pomone with music by Robert Cambert opened on 3 March 1671 and ran for 146 performances. A second work, Les peines et les plaisirs de l'amour, with a libretto by Gabriel Gilbert and music by Cambert, was performed in 1672.

Jean-Baptiste Lully

Despite this early success, Cambert and two other associates did not hesitate to swindle Perrin, who was imprisoned for debt and forced to concede his privilege on 13 March 1672 to the surintendant of the king's music Jean-Baptiste Lully. The institution was renamed the Académie Royale de Musique and came to be known in France simply as the Opéra. Within one month Lully had convinced the king to expand the privilege by restricting the French and Italian comedians to using two singers rather than six, and six instrumentalists, rather than twelve. Because of legal difficulties Lully could not use the Salle de la Bouteille, and a new theatre was built by Carlo Vigarani at the Bel-Air tennis court on the Rue de Vaugirard.[9] Later, Lully and his successors bitterly negotiated the concession of the privilege, in whole or in part, from the entrepreneurs in the provinces: in 1684 Pierre Gautier bought the authorisation to open a music academy in Marseille, then the towns of Lyon, Rouen, Lille and Bordeaux followed suit in the following years. During Lully's tenure, the only works performed were his own. The first productions were the pastorale Les fêtes de l'Amour et de Bacchus (November 1672) and his first tragedie lyrique called Cadmus et Hermione (27 April 1673).

After Molière's death in 1673, his troupe merged with the players at the Théâtre du Marais to form the Théâtre Guénégaud (at the same theatre that had been used by the Académie d'Opéra), and no longer needed the theatre built by Richelieu at his residence the Palais-Royal, near the Louvre. (In 1680 the troupe at the Guénégaud merged again with the players from the Hôtel de Bourgogne forming the Comédie-Française.) Richelieu's theatre had been designed by Jacques Le Mercier and had opened in 1641, and unlike the huge theatre at the Tuileries Palace, which could accommodate 6,000 to 8,000 spectators, was of a size consistent with good acoustics. Lully greatly desired a better theatre and persuaded the king to let him use the one at the Palais-Royal free of charge. The Théâtre du Palais-Royal had been altered in 1660 and 1671, but Lully, with 3,000 livres received from the king, had further changes made by Vigarani in 1674.

The first production in the new theatre was Alceste on 19 January 1674. The opera was bitterly attacked by those enraged at the restrictions that Lully had caused to be placed on the French and Italian comedians. To mitigate the damage, Louis XIV arranged for new works to be premiered at the court, usually at the Chateau Vieux of the Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye. This had the further advantage of subsidizing the cost of rehearsals, as well as most of the machinery, sets, and costumes, which were donated to the Opéra for use in Paris. During Lully's time at the Opéra, performances were given all year, except for three weeks at Easter. Regular performances were on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. The premieres presented at court were usually during Carnival and were moved to the Palais-Royal after Easter, where the openings were on Thursdays. About two to three new works were mounted each year. In all, thirteen of Lully's tragédie en musique were performed there (see the list of compositions by Jean-Baptiste Lully).

After Lully

After Lully died (in 1687), the number of new works per year almost doubled, since his successors (Pascal Collasse, Henri Desmarets, André Campra, André Cardinal Destouches, and Marin Marais) had greater difficulty sustaining the interest of the public. Revivals of Lully's works were common. French composers at the Opéra generally wrote music to new librettos, which had to be approved by the directors of the company. The Italian practice of preparing new settings of existing librettos was considered controversial and did not become the norm in Paris until around 1760. One of the most important of the new works during this period was an opéra-ballet by Campra called L'Europe galante presented in 1697.

Ballet
In 1661 Louis XIV, who was a dancer himself and one of the great architects of baroque ballet (the art form which would one day evolve into classical ballet), established the Académie Royale de Danse, intended to codify court and character dances and to certify dance teachers by examination. From 1680 until Lully's death, it was under the direction of the great dancing master Pierre Beauchamp, the man who codified the five positions of the feet. When Lully took over the Opéra in 1672, he and Beauchamp made theatrical ballet an important part of the company's productions. The ballet of that time was merely an extension of the opera, having yet to evolve into an independent form of theatrical art. As it became more important, however, the dance component of the company began to be referred to as the Paris Opera Ballet. In 1713 an associated ballet school was opened, today known as the Paris Opera Ballet School. The Académie Royale de Danse remained separate, and with the fall of the monarchy in 1789 it disappeared.

The company's names after the Revolution

With the French Revolution and the founding of the Republic, the company changed names several times, dropping its association with the royal family (see the List of official company names for details), and in 1794, moved into the Théâtre National de la rue de la Loi (capacity 2800) where it took the name Théâtre des Arts. In 1797, it was renamed the Théâtre de la République et des Arts.

Napoleon took control of the company in 1802 and with the declaration of the French Empire in 1804, renamed the company the Académie Impériale de Musique. With the Restoration in 1814, the company was renamed the Académie Royale de Musique. It became part of the Académie des Beaux-Arts in 1816. In 1821, the company moved to the Salle Le Peletier, which had a capacity of 1900 spectators and where it remained until the building was destroyed by fire in 1873.

In the second half of the 19th century, with the ascension of Napoleon III in 1851, the name Académie Impériale de Musique was reinstated and after 1870 with the formation of the Third Republic, was changed to Théâtre National de l'Opéra.

In 1875, the institution occupied a new home, the Palais Garnier. Between 1908 and 1914 Henri Benjamin Rabaud conducted at Palais Garnier. Rabaud also composed several works which first premiered at Opéra-Comique, but were later also performed at Palais Garnier.

In 1939, the Opéra was merged with the Opéra-Comique and the company name became Réunion des Théâtres Lyriques Nationaux. The Opéra-Comique was closed in 1972 with the appointment of Rolf Liebermann as general administrator of the Théâtre National de l'Opéra de Paris (1973–1980), but in 1976, the Opéra-Comique was restored.

In 1990 the Opéra moved its primary venue to the new Opéra-Bastille, becoming the Opéra de Paris, although it continued to mount productions, primarily ballet, at the Palais Garnier; and the Opéra-Comique regained its autonomy. In 1994 the Opéra de Paris became the Opéra National de Paris. Regardless of all the changes in its "official" name, the company and its theatres were commonly referred to as the Opéra.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Paris, France
Starts at: 19:30
Acts: 3
Intervals: 1
Duration: 2h 45min
Sung in: Italian
Titles in: French,English
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