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    Rigoletto at Miller Outdoor Theatre

    Presented by at Miller Outdoor Theatre

    May 15 - May 16, 2009

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    Rigoletto at Miller Outdoor Theatre

    Houston Grand Opera presents Rigoletto, Verdi's distinguished tragedy where a bitter court jester pits himself against his master, the Duke of Mantua, in a hopeless effort to protect his daughter, Gilda's, fortune. Two performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre, Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16.

    The Composer
    Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) was born to an innkeeper in Roncole, Italy. His musical talent was recognized and nurtured by Antonio Barrezi, a prosperous merchant. Verdi married Barrezi’s daughter Marguerite in 1836, only to lose her and their two small children in 1840 to illness. His first success came in 1842 with Nabucco; it was adopted by the patriotic movement that eventually freed Italy from Austrian domination, and Verdi became a national hero overnight. During this time he met the soprano Giuseppina Strepponi, who would become his second wife. Other important Verdi works include Il Trovatore, La Traviata, Don Carlo, Aïda, Otello and Falstaff.

    The Premiere
    Rigoletto, Verdi’s fifteenth opera, was an instant success upon its premiere at the Teatro la Fenice in Venice on March 11, 1851, and is among the most enduring operas in the repertoire. Its title role is regarded as one of the most demanding (both musically and dramatically) ever written for a baritone.

    The Source
    Rigoletto is based on Le Roi s’amuse, a play by Victor Hugo in which the major characters are historical: Francis I of France, a contemporary of Henry VIII, and his jester Triboulet. The opera, originally titled La maledizione (The Curse), was faithful to the play’s basic story line, and the Italian censors found the libretto so shocking that they demanded important changes. (The original play had shocked the French as well, and had to be withdrawn after only two performances.) The censors were particularly concerned with the story’s unflattering portrait of King Francis I, which they feared would provoke subversive behavior. To fictionalize the story, the locale was moved to Italy, the King was reduced in rank to a duke, and the jester’s name was changed to Rigoletto (from the French rigoler, “to laugh”).

    Pictured:  detail of a photo by Houston Grand Opera.

    Miller Outdoor Theatre

    6000 Hermann Park Dr.
    Houston, TX 77030

    Full map and directions

    Admission Info:

    Free Event

    Tickets to Seated Area
    While performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are FREE of charge, some require tickets for the covered seating area. Tickets are available at the Miller Theatre Box Office on a first-come basis between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on the day of the performance. Please, only four (4) tickets per person. Remaining tickets are given out one hour before curtain.

    Hillside Area
    No tickets are required for seating on the hillside. Blankets and lawnchairs are welcome. No glass containers of any kind are allowed.

    General Day and Time Info:


    Phone: (281) FREE-FUN (373-3386)


    Free parking available in Hermann Park lots


    Accessibility Information: Currently, no accessibility information is available for this event.

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