Don Quixote Home Page Cervantes' Spain The Story Making Connections to the Arts Lessons [side curve]

Discovering Opera

Unit Overview

Who is Rigoletto?

What is the Structure of the Story?

Why Do These Characters Act This Way?

From Story to Stage

Developing a Libretto

The Composer and the Librettist

Operatic Conventions

How Do Words and Music Help Us Understand the Characters


The Enduring Quest
Man of La Mancha


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Discovering Opera through Rigoletto

Rigoletto's Story, Part 2

My goodness, things couldn't have possibly gotten worse after that curse. I don't know about you, but after all that has happened to me, I believe in curses.

I was going home after the Duke's party. On the way, I met a strange man. He told me that if I ever wanted to have anyone killed, he could help me. I don't know why he would ask me that, but I asked for his name anyway.

When I got home, my daughter greeted me. She was the only joy I had left in my life. Her name was Gilda. Her mother had died many years ago, and I left her in the country with a nurse to look after her. I didn't want to bring her to this terrible city. But now she was old enough to come and live with me. I made her promise never to leave my house. She said she would obey me. I was happy and I went to bed.

Little did I know that whenever I went away, a man would visit her. The man told her that he was a poor student, but really he was the Duke. My daughter was pretty and the Duke had fallen in love with her. He would come to visit her every night. He even came that night, while I was sleeping.

Later that night I heard noises in the street. I went outside to check on things. There were some of the members of the Duke's court. They told me that they wanted me to help them play a trick on someone. They blindfolded me and said that we were going to kidnap the wife of one of my enemies. I thought that was a good idea and let them blindfold me. I should have known better. As they came out of the house with a woman, I heard her scream. It was my own daughter.

I went to the Duke's palace as fast as I could. At first I couldn't find my daughter anywhere. But soon she came running towards me, crying. The men had treated her very badly, and the Duke also hurt her. She felt broken-hearted. Everything that she had believed was a lie. I knew at that moment that I had to take my revenge.

I sprang into action. I was too crippled to fight the Duke myself, so I found the mysterious man and hired him to assassinate the Duke. The man and his sister would lure the Duke to a secluded tavern and then kill him. I thought the plan was perfect. I followed the Duke to the tavern and heard him singing his silly songs. My revenge was almost complete.

I didn't count on two things. First, my daughter was still in love with the Duke, despite everything. She followed him out to the tavern and was watching everything through a window.

I also didn't count on the Assassin' s sister. She also fell in love with the Duke and persuaded her brother to find someone else to kill, instead. They decided that the next person who knocked on the door of the tavern would be the one that they would kill.

After a huge storm, I knocked on the door of the tavern, sure that my plan had worked. The Assassin brought out a body to me, wrapped in a blanket, and asked me to dump it in the lake. As I was about to do what he said, I heard a sound that made my blood run cold. I heard the Duke's voice singing that stupid song again. How could this be? I unwrapped the body and there was my beautiful daughter Gilda. She had heard about the plot and decided to save the life of the Duke. She still had a little life left in her. She said goodbye to me forever and died in my arms. The curse had run its course.