• Classroom Activity

The activities in this guide address several aspects of Rigoletto:

  • The bond between daughter and father at the heart of this tragedy
  • Verdi’s skill at delineating complex characters through music
  • Key terms whose deployment adds depth to the libretto
  • The decision for this new Met staging to relocate Rigoletto to a morerecent, more familiar time and place
  • The production as a unified work of art, involving creative decisions bythe artists of the Metropolitan Opera.

Family Counseling: A Close Look at the Father–Daughter Relationship in Rigoletto

Rigoletto is an operatic masterpiece not just for its gorgeous music, but a lso its dramatic impact, complex plot development, and fascinating, colorfully drawn characters. It is also an opera without a hero, one in which nearly every player acts badly, sometimes entirely without moral scruples. One of its marvels, particularly appropriate for consideration by young viewers, is the bond between the charactersof Rigoletto and Gilda. Verdi and Piave encapsulate a parent–teen relationship, with all its complications, in only a few brief minutes of music. The plot requires only basic information, but they chose to paint a rich, painful portrait of a deeply troubled family. This Classroom Activity invites students to listen closely to Rigoletto and Gilda, then to make up their own minds about the feelings, the concord, and the conflicts in the characters’ world views. Students will:

  • use contemporary music to build a vocabulary for describing parent–teenrelationships
  • apply that vocabulary to a set of exchanges between Rigoletto and Gilda
  • describe, assess, and predict characters’ decisions and actions
  • imaginatively “counsel” the characters to help them improve their relationship.