Opera by Giuseppe Verdi
Hall in the palace of the Duke of Mantua. The ball, arranged by the young Duke, is in full swing. The young man tells his courtier Borsa that he met a beautiful girl in the church, who he really likes. Soon the attention of the corrupt Duke was attracted by the beautiful Countess Ceprano. He invites her to a dance and begins to court her insistently. The court jester, the ugly-looking Rigoletto, notices the jealousy of Count Ceprano and begins to mock him viciously.
On the other hand, he encourages his master's bold behavior.Count Ceprano hears the jester's disgusting insinuations and swears cruel revenge in front of a group of courtiers.And the other close to the Duke hate the hunchbacked and ugly jester and dream of revenge. Having learned from Marullo that Rigoletto has a mistress, who hides in a lonely house outside the city, they decide at night to settle accounts with him.Suddenly the festive mood is darkened.Count Monterone enters. He wants an explanation from the Duke for his daughter's disappearance.But instead of the Duke of the offended father, Rigoletto responds with a vicious mockery.Count Monterone curses them both.The Duke orders the count to be taken to prison.
A dead-end streetin front of Rigoletto's house. The terrible oath of Count Monterone does not leave the head of the jester.At home, the evil old man has completely changed.Now he thinks anxiously about his beloved daughter, who is his only joy in life.The bandit Sparafucile jumps out of the darkness. The young man is ready to eliminate any enemy or rival of Rigoletto.For now, the jester doesn't need his help.He breaks up with the bandit and enters the house.His daughter Gilda greets him with joy. For the imprisoned girl, meeting her father and going to church are the only happy moments.Suddenly footsteps echo down the street.Frightened, Rigoletto goes to see who is hovering around his house, but sees no one.The Duke, disguised as a student, has hidden in the darkness. While Rigoletto looks around, he sneaks through the open door and, with the help of the maid, Giovanna hides in the garden.The calm jester returns.Rigoletto orders Giovanna once more to take good care of his daughter and leaves.
Gilda starts again thinking about the stranger she had seen in the church. The Duke emerges from the bushes. He introduces himself to the frightened girl as a student. This is the young man from the church. Fascinated by Gilda's beauty, the Duke swears eternal fidelity to her. The girl is also excited by the unexpected meeting. She increasingly likes the unknown "student". The anxious Giovanna enters. She has heard footsteps near the house. The Duke thinks Rigoletto returns and escapes through the back entrance.
The Duke's courtiers, brought by Count Ceprano, have gathered in front of the jester's house to carry out their plan of revenge. They think Gilda is the old man's mistress and want to kidnap her. At this time Rigoletto comes along. The courtier Marullo tells him why they came: they have to kidnap the wife of Count Ceprano, who lives nearby. Rigoletto readily offers to help. The courtiers happily agree. They put a mask on his head and make him hold the ladder. But instead of Ceprano's house, they enter his home. Only when he hears Gilda's cries does Rigoletto understand the truth. Maddened by grief, he remembers the oath of Count Monterone and falls numb to the ground.
In the palace, the Duke has learned of Gilda's abduction.He had gone to her house again the night before, and Giovanna had told him how several masked men had abducted the girl.His courtiers come, still excited about last night's accident – they kidnapped Rigoletto's "mistress" and brought her here to the palace.The Duke immediately understands everything and happily goes to the room where Gilda is locked up.
Rigoletto enters the hall. He is convinced that his daughter is in the palace – he himself helped the courtiers to kidnap her. At first, the jester tries to hide his grief from the courtiers, but he can't stand it and falls at their feet, begging them to return Gilda to him. The poor man assures them that Gilda is his daughter, but they do not believe him. Rigoletto learns from a page that the Duke is in his room and rushes on. But the room is locked. Hearing her father's voice, Gilda leaves. Sobbing, she tells him about her love, about the Duke's deception, about her disgrace. Rigoletto tries to comfort her. He has decided to flee Mantua tomorrow. At this time, Count Monterone is passing through the hall. He is being taken to prison. Seeing him, Rigoletto vows to take cruel revenge on his corrupt master. The pleas of Gilda, who still loves the Duke, are in vain.
A street by the river next to Sparafucile's house. For almost a month now, Rigoletto has been lurking for revenge. He has learned that the Duke is now meeting the street dancer Maddalena, Sparafucile's sister. In the dark of the night, he and Gilda see the Duke disguised as an officer enter Maddalena's house. Gilda is desperate. Her father begs her to go immediately, disguised as a man, to Verona, where he will find her the next day.
After Gilda leaves, Rigoletto summons Sparafucile and persuades him to kill the officer who is with them. He offers to pay the bandit a part of the remuneration for the "service" immediately, and the rest will be given to him after receiving the body. However, Gilda secretly returns to see what the Duke is doing. She overhears the conversation between Sparafucile and Maddalena, in which the dancer begs her brother to spare the life of the handsome young officer. After long hesitation, Sparafucile decided that if another man came, he would kill him and give his corpse to Rigoletto. Gilda decides to sacrifice herself for the life of the Duke, whom she loves endlessly.
She knocks on the door of the bandit, who, seeing the stranger, immediately stabs him in the chest. After a while, Rigoletto returns and Sparafucile gives him the corpse tied in a sack. The jester is pleased – he has finally avenged his shame. All he has to do is throw the body into the river. In that moment, the Duke's song sounded in the distance. Terrified, Rigoletto unties the sack and sees his daughter Gilda. With the Duke's name on her lips, she dies. Rigoletto falls numb on her body.