Tragic Devotion: Verdi's 'Rigoletto'


THE SINGLE: Rigoletto Pleads for His Daughter

Act Two features one of Verdi's finest evocations of a father's love. Rigoletto (baritone Leo Nucci) reveals to the courtiers that the young woman they've just delivered for the Duke's pleasure is Rigoletto's own daughter. After expressing a father's outrage, he movingly pleads for her return, saying she is all he has left in the world.

THE B SIDE: Gilda's Sacrifice

The most famous highlight from the opera's final act is the celebrated quartet. The sequence that follows is harder to excerpt -- but worth the trouble in this stunning performance from La Scala. As a storm rages, Sparafucile (bass Julian Kostantinov) gives in to Maddalena (mezzo-soprano Mariana Pentcheva) and agrees to murder whomever might come to the door rather than the Duke, and Gilda (soprano Andrea Rost) saves the Duke's life by willingly sacrificing her own.