Rigoletto: Classical Concert Report

The performance I chose to view was Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi. This Opera was televised version of Verdi’s Rigoletto. Rigoletto was originally written in 1851. This opera was Italian and premiered on March 11, 1851 at Teatro La Fenice, Venice. This is a very well-known opera house for Italian theatre. The Librettist, or writer of this piece was Francesco Maria Piave. This televised, somewhat modern version of Rigoletto was, for the most part, accurate. The story tells of a daughter named Gilda, who falls in love with the Duke. Gilda ends up sacrificing her life at the end, leaving a peculiar twist for her father. This film was portrayed accurately, and had the key components, such as, complex characters and effective portrayal of emotions. These are both key components of Romantic era music.

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The era this piece was written in was the Romantic era. During the Romantic era, it was very common to have operas that have powerful emotions and told complex stories about complex characters. In this opera, nearly every character has a complex personality. I found myself during the film conflicted with who’s side I was on. Rigoletto didn’t always make the best decisions morally, but it was hard to not feel empathetic towards him. This can go along with the other characters too like Gilda and Sparafucile. Based primarily from my listening, the film seemed to match up with the original opera fairly well. The story conveyed the correct emotions, and the music was, for the most part, portrayed well with the characters. During this film I found myself engulfed in emotions. I think this was one of the primary intents of the piece, since it was a major characteristic for the Romantic Era. Composers like Verdi caught the attention of the audience, with drastic shifts in emotion, and sporadic plot development. An example of this is at the end, when the twist is revealed that Rigoletto is not dumping the body he thinks he is, where it is in fact his daughter.

There were many pieces involved in the film Rigoletto. This is because the emotion and plot twists needed to be reinforced. The pieces implemented into this film give it a more powerful meaning and engulfs the viewer into the scenes. Based off of the YouTube description, I found the pieces that were used during the film. The first was Questo o quella per mi pari sono from Act I of Rigoletto. This is played based off of the original by Verdi, and the artist was Emerson Buckley. The second song in the film was Rigoletto, the artists of this piece in the film were: Orquesta del Teatro Metropolitan de New York, Coro del Teatro Metropolitan de New York, Gennaro Papi. The next Song was Rigoletto, Act I: Pari siamo!, whereas this one, according to the description of the film, was performed by Various Artists. I do think having access to a live performance would have definitely given me the resources to see who performed this song, but in the YouTube film review case, it does not. The next piece in the film was

Act II: Ah! veglia, o donna. The Artists of this piece were: Jonel Perlea, Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters, Jussi Bjoerling, and Giorgio Tozzi. The next song listed for the film was: Signor n?? principe…T’amo! T’amo, ripetilo, whichu was performed by Eva Lind, Francisco Araiza, Opera Orchestra Zurich, and Ralf Weikert. Another song in the film was ELLA MI FU RAPITA…PARMI VEDER LE LAGRIME, which was performed by the famous Luciano Pavorotti. Another piece in the film was Cortigiani, vil razza dannata, the artists being: Ingvar Wixell, Staatskapelle Dresden, Silvio Varviso. Tutte le feste al tempio…Piangi, fanciulla was another piece in the film, by Renato Bruson. Last but not least was La Donna ?? Mobile another piece by Pavarotti. Although this may seem like a big mess of pieces, it was necessary to support the two-hour Rigoletto. All of these components of Rigolletto were written for key scenes that were portrayed in the film. For example, Rigoletto, Act I: Pari siamo! Is intended to convey Sparafucile with his dagger in a grand room within the palace of the Duke of Mantua. This example shows how the rest of the pieces were needed to convey the original meaning of the opera.

The performance itself was very entertaining, and I think overall it was very well done. I noticed the quality of the music was exceptional, which leads me to believe the conductor did a very good job. I do think that some of the pieces intended timing/scenery was manipulated in the movie, which may have portrayed a slightly different story than the original Rigoletto was intended to have. The music itself was played very well, and although I think the story was changed, it was very well done. This film was made in 1982, which is not that long ago when talking about music. The YouTube video was also not very high quality, which was expected since it is a film for the 80’s and is a link to watch the movie for free. I do think watching this performance online somewhat made the opera experience less exciting. Although this entirely my fault for not attending a concert, I think seeing the opera in person would have been more intriguing, and the musical sound would have been true. With that being said the performance was still very positive overall.

Since this was a Romantic Era opera, the emotions really stood out to me. As I mentioned earlier, the emotions you feel towards each character is complex and twisted. At one point I Found myself looking at Sparafucile in a negative way, but at times it showed that he was not completely antagonistic. Gilda is a very intriguing character that captures your attention, but her actions seemed to impact me as the viewer more than I would’ve thought. I think this all ties into what an opera is essentially about, especially a Romantic Era opera. It was intended to leave the audience puzzled and full of complex emotions, since this was one of the Romantic era’s core values. One of my favorite examples of this was around 1:49:40, where Rigoletto is given the body down the hatch into the boat. He is convinced it is anyone but his daughter, but then as he reveals whom the dying person is, it is his daughter. HE shouts My Daughter!…O god!…My daughter! The music during this part is essential to grasping the emotions he was feeling. The high intensity music portrays that feeling of adrenaline, which the words accurately depict. It was moments like this during the performance that made it a very good performance. Where the story is portrayed how it was intended by Verdi. I think overall my rating of the film was an 8/10, mainly because reading the sub titles did get old. None the less I enjoyed the film, and I was happy it was portrayed accurately, and the music was played well.

In conclusion, the opera Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi was portrayed very well in this 1982 film. It gave me a modern visual of the opera. I think the story was very captivating and the pieces all factored into the emotions within the film. Without these key musical pieces in the film, it would not have resembled the opera as it should have. During this film I found myself engulfed in emotions. I think this was one of the primary intents of the piece, since it was a major characteristic for the Romantic Era. The Romantic era was full of composers who made operas with tons of emotion and complex characters. This is definitely resembled through the performance I watched. At first you find yourself hating one character, but then they grow on you. I also found myself seeing characters make decisions or choices that I know are morally incorrect, yet I still support them. Verdi did a great job on the concept of Rigoletto, it was a story unlike any other I’ve seen in modern day movies. It was intriguing to see how this time period influence modern day music and even films. Although this is somewhat unrelated, I wanted to point out how music and sounds are used in movies to depict emotions. I read an article recently on how they fabricate noises for movies, such as horse hoofs or water sounds. Although these are unnatural, they are all essential to portraying the scene and emotions in that part. This reminded me of how the music supports the story in Rigoletto. All of the artists that performed the music for the movie did so very well. The sounds were great, which I expected for a popular movie. I was not disappointed in my choice of Rigoletto, since it was so easy to watch (besides reading subtitles)! I do regret not seeing a concert in person, since I think the musical sound would portray even more emotion to the audience, something a Romantic Era composer would definitely want. Overall, I think the film was very well made, and accurately portrayed Verdi’s original Rigoletto.

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Rigoletto: Classical Concert Report. (2019, Jun 24). Retrieved November 29, 2022 , from

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