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Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point, Sydney


Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Running time

Approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one interval.

Please note

Please note this production contains sexual violence, violence against women and strobe lighting effects.

He’s hideous. He’s hated. He’s untouchable. But in this shimmering world of secrets and seduction, can he keep the one he loves most safe?

At the Duke’s infamous parties, one man’s words light the darkness with a sinister glitter. Among the glamorous girls and greasy gangsters, Rigoletto serves his master with sharp wits and averted eyes.

From the moment he wrote it, Verdi knew he had a hit on his hands. The story has everything: royalty, loyalty, devotion, lust and revenge.

And the music? The music is sensational, so full of hummable tunes that Verdi demanded complete secrecy from his premiere cast. The tenor was forbidden from even whistling the catchy ‘La donna è mobile’ outside of rehearsals.

The morning after Rigoletto’s triumphant première, that melody rang out in the streets: a hit for ever after. The title character Verdi called the “greatest creation” in the history of theatre had found a home in a masterpiece of music.

Elijah Moshinsky’s much-loved production of Rigoletto returns to the Sydney Opera House stage, complete with its glamorous La Dolce Vita-inspired sets and costumes and scene-stealing Fiat 500.

The revolving dolls-house style set gives a cinematic detail to each scene. We’ve assembled a brilliant cast led by Verdi master Renato Palumbo. Ernesto Petti is the tortured jester at the heart of Verdi’s masterpiece.

“Classic opera; classic revenge, classic tragedy. Rigoletto’s big opulent sets are matched by big voices and big entertainment. ★★★★”

Arts Hub

Cast & Creative

Revival Director
Assistant Director
Set & Costume Designer
Lighting Designer
Duke of Mantua
Atalla Ayan (13 June)
Virgilio Marino (15, 17, 24, 26 June)
Diego Torre (20 & 22 June)
Benjamin Rasheed (15–26 June)
Countess Ceprano

Opera Australia Chorus
Opera Australia Orchestra

Opera Australia Rigoletto, Arts Centre Melbourne 2019

Cheat Sheet: Rigoletto

Everything you need to know about the opera many consider Verdi's masterpiece.

What happens in the story? What should I expect from the music? What is the big hit?

Read the cheat sheet


Overture Dining at the Sydney Opera House

Enjoy dinner before the opera

Overture Dining at Sydney Opera House

Allow us to make your dinner reservation for you: at Overture Dining in the Northern Foyer of the Joan Sutherland Theatre. You’ll be served a three-course menu for just $97.

See the menu

Rigoletto at Arts Centre Melbourne (2019)

Photographer: Jeff Busby

Rigoletto at Arts Centre Melbourne (2019)

Photographer: Jeff Busby

Rigoletto at Arts Centre Melbourne (2019)

Photographer: Jeff Busby

Rigoletto at Arts Centre Melbourne (2019)

Photographer: Jeff Busby

Rigoletto at Arts Centre Melbourne (2019)

Photographer: Jeff Busby

Rigoletto at Arts Centre Melbourne (2019)

Photographer: Jeff Busby


Act I

Scene i. The Duke’s palace

For three months the Duke of Mantua has been lusting after a lovely girl. He has found out where she lives, and that a mysterious man visits her every night, but he has no idea who she is. One woman is as good as another for the Duke, and when the Countess Ceprano catches his eye he sweeps her away before her husband’s eyes.

Rigoletto cruelly taunts Ceprano about the Duke seducing his wife. Marullo rushes in with a diverting bit of gossip: Rigoletto has a lover! Ceprano enlists his friends in a plot to wreak revenge on Rigoletto. They have all felt the lash of the hunchback’s tongue, and they are delighted at the chance to pay him back.

Monterone storms in, accusing the Duke of seducing his daughter. Rigoletto mocks the old man savagely, but Monterone will not be silenced. The furious Duke has him arrested, and as he is led away he curses both the Duke and Rigoletto.

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