'The subject cannot fail!' exulted Verdi, when recommending Victor Hugo's play Le Roi s'amuse to his librettist. But the censors made every effort to stop it, and the baritone was not easily convinced that a hunchback role would suit him. Jonathan Keates gives a vivid insight into the composition of a masterpiece. Verdi long afterwards thought it his best work, and Roger Parker explains why. Peter Nichols, author of several bestselling books in Italy, picks out some of the peculiarly Italian attitudes and characters in the opera which make it timeless - and incredibly modern.
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 1901) is one of Italy's most celebrated opera composers. His best-known operas include "Rigoletto," "Il trovatore," "La traviata," and "Aida."
List of illustrations Introduction by Jonathan Keates Musical Commentary by Roger Parker The Timelessness of 'Rigoletto' by Peter Nichols Thematic Guide 'Rigoletto' Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave after Victor Hugo's 'Le roi s'amuse' English translation by James Fenton Act One Act Two Act Three Discography by David Nice Bibliography