Giuseppe Verdi


Oct 20 - Dec 17

Željko Lučić reprises his acclaimed performance of the title role in Michael Mayer’s electrifying production, set in 1960 in a Las Vegas casino. Piotr Beczala sings the licentious Duke and Nadine Sierra, in her Met debut, is Gilda, Rigoletto’s innocent daughter. Roberto Abbado conducts Verdi’s timeless tragedy.

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  • Sung In
  • Italian
  • Met Titles In
  • English
  • German
  • Italian
  • Spanish
  • Estimated Run Time
  • 3 hrs 6 mins
  • House Opens
  • Act I 57 mins
  • Intermission 29 mins
  • Act II 32 mins
  • Intermission 33 mins
  • Act III 36 mins
  • Opera Ends
Oct 20 - Dec 17

This production has completed for the season.

Be sure to check out our remaining productions on the season list.

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A scene from Rigoletto

“Rigoletto hits the jackpot!”


World premiere: Teatro la Fenice, Venice, 1851. Met premiere: November 16, 1883. A dramatic journey of undeniable force, Rigoletto was immensely popular from its premiere and remains fresh and powerful to this day. The story, based on a controversial play by Victor Hugo, tells of an outsider—a hunchbacked jester—who struggles to balance the dueling elements of beauty and evil that exist in his life. Written during the most fertile period of Verdi’s artistic life, the opera resonates with a universality that is frequently called Shakespearean.


In a remarkable career spanning six decades in the theater, Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) composed 28 operas, at least half of which are at the core of today’s repertoire. His role in Italy’s cultural and political development has made him an icon in his native country. Francesco Maria Piave (1810–1876) was Verdi’s librettist during his extremely successful and productive middle period, who also worked with him on Ernani, Macbeth, La Traviata, and La Forza del Destino, among others.

Production Michael Mayer

Set Designer Christine Jones

Costume Designer Susan Hilferty

Lighting Designer Kevin Adams

Choreographer Steven Hoggett

Giuseppe Verdi


Giuseppe Verdi


A scene from Rigoletto

Victor Hugo’s 1832 play Le Roi s’amuse, set at the court of King François I of France (circa 1520), is a blatant depiction of depraved authority. In adapting it, Verdi and Piave fought with the Italian censors and eventually settled on moving the story to the non-royal Renaissance court of Mantua, while holding firm on the core issues of the drama. In Michael Mayer’s Met production, the action unfolds in Las Vegas in 1960, a time and place with surprising parallels to the decadent world of the original setting.


Rigoletto contains a wealth of melody, including one that is among the world’s most famous: “La donna è mobile.” All the opera’s solos are rich with character insight and dramatic development. The famous Act III quartet, “Bella figlia dell’amore,” is an ingenious musical analysis of the diverging reactions of the four principals in the same moment: the Duke’s music rises with urgency and impatience, Gilda’s droops with disappointment, Rigoletto’s remains measured and paternal, while the promiscuous Maddalena is literally all over the place. In the context of the opera, the merely lovely music becomes inspired drama.

Met History

Eugene Berman designed this costume for Leonard Warren in the 1951 production of Rigoletto. Other star baritones who performed the title role in this staging, which was seen a total of 219 times, include Robert Merrill, Cornell MacNeil, and Louis Quilico. The following new production in 1977 featured Sherrill Milnes opposite Ileana Cotrubas and Plácido Domingo. Rigoletto ranks as the sixth most frequently performed opera at the Met.

A scene from Rigoletto