A dark drama of passion, love, betrayal and revenge
The State OperaApproximate running time
2 hours 30 minutes, 1 intermission 20 minutesLanguage
In Italian, subtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
September 2, 2021
Our new adaptation of Rigoletto was staged for the State Opera by the young Czech director Barbora Horáková Joly, the holder of the UK’s International Opera Award 2018 in the Newcomer category. “We focused on the title character. Rigoletto is haunted by the mystery of his past, which has led him to serve a jaded, amoral and decadent male clique, whose values are tumbling,” she says.
State Opera Chorus
State Opera Orchestra
State Opera Ballet
The title hero, the hunch-backed court jester with derision on his lips and anxiety in his heart, is well aware that it is wrong to serve the licentious Duke of Mantua, and thus he so tortures himself over the curse placed on him and his master.
When in 1850 Guiseppe Verdi was commissioned to write a new opera for La Fenice, he decided to base it on Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’amuse, notwithstanding that the French censors had deemed the play utterly unacceptable and banned it immediately after the premiere, in November 1832 at the Théâtre Français in Paris. Verdi’s intention to create an opera according to Hugo’s work met in Italy with an equally hostile response, with the Venetian censors referring to it as “immoral” and an “affront to royal majesty”. The parties ultimately arrived at a compromise: the setting would be changed, the French King would become the Duke of Mantua, yet the most essential aspects – the characters’ natures and the dramatic situations – would remain. The opera’s premiere, on 11 March 1851 in Venice, was a great triumph, particularly the Duke’s cynical aria “La donna è mobile” (Woman is fickle), which was sung in the streets the next morning. Verdi saw that he had composed a smash hit!
Rigoletto has been performed at the State Opera ever since the venue’s opening. The piece was first staged there by the New German Theatre company on 21 May 1888. Over the next few seasons, its performances were adorned by attractive foreign guests, with the most notable including the legendary tenor Enrico Caruso (4 and 10 May 1904). Our previous production of Rigoletto, directed by Karel Jernek (premiered on 14 January 1988 at the Smetana Theatre, with the final night held on 28 June 2017 at the Karlín Music Theatre), received some 483 performances.
Photo and video gallery
Where to buy tickets
The National Theatre sells tickets up to 6 months in advance. On 1 May at 9am we started selling tickets for performances of Drama, Ballet, Opera and Laterna magika until the end of October 2022.
What to wear?
By their appearance, attire and behaviour, the audience is obliged to adhere to the accustomed practice expected from them when attending a theatre performance.
Parking at the State opera
While visiting the State Opera, you can take the slip road on Wilsonova street from the left lane close to the State Opera building to the Parking Centrum above-ground garage. The parking fee is 40 CZK/h.
Buffets at the State Opera
No waiting. For your benefit, please pre-order your food and beverages at the bar to minimize waiting in the queue!