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Great Performances: Rigoletto From Mantua

Airs Sunday, July 17, 2011 at 12:30 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Plàcido Domingo stars in the baritone title role of "Rigoletto" with Julia Novikova portraying his innocent daughter Gilda.

From Andrea Andermann comes a visually and musically spectacular production of Verdi’s "Rigoletto," filmed last September on breathtaking locations in and around the Renaissance splendor of Mantua, Italy, in the places and hours specified in the libretto.

Vittorio Grigolo stars as the handsome, powerful and cynical Duke of Mantua in "Rigoletto From Mantua."
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Above: Vittorio Grigolo stars as the handsome, powerful and cynical Duke of Mantua in "Rigoletto From Mantua."

Plàcido Domingo in the baritone title role of "Rigoletto."
Enlarge this image

Above: Plàcido Domingo in the baritone title role of "Rigoletto."

Starring tenor Plàcido Domingo in the traditionally baritone role of 16th-century court jester Rigoletto, Julia Novikova as his innocent daughter Gilda, Vittorio Grigolo as the womanizing Duke and Ruggero Raimondi as the assassin Sparafucile, the production is directed by Marco Bellocchio, and the RAI National Symphony Orchestra is conducted by Zubin Mehta.

Tenor Domingo has a special relationship to “Rigoletto.” It was the first opera he ever heard; the character of Borsa was his first operatic role; he sang the Duke many times; and he has conducted the work on numerous occasions.

Domingo had qualms about taking on the titular baritone role. “When Andrea Andermann invited me to interpret the part of Rigoletto, I replied that there were so many good baritones in the world who could sing it. But Andrea said that he wasn’t looking for a baritone, but rather for the Rigoletto [that I] could bring to life.”

Now, he gives voice and soul to Rigoletto, a court jester, who after publicly ridiculing a nobleman, Count Ceprano, is tragically punished by the courtiers for his unforgivable insolence.

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Video

Preview: Great Performances: Rigoletto From Mantua

Watch the full episode. See more Great Performances.

Above: From Andrea Andermann comes a visually and musically spectacular production of Verdi’s "Rigoletto," filmed last September on breathtaking locations in and around the Renaissance splendor of Mantua, Italy.

Video

Video Excerpt: Rigoletto From Mantua: La Donna e Mobile

Watch the full episode. See more Great Performances.

Above: In this clip from "Rigoletto From Mantua," a filmic adaptation of the opera starring Placido Domingo, tenor Vittorio Grigolo as the womanizing Duke of Mantua sings the well known classic canzone, “La Donna e Mobile,” known as showcase for operatic tenors.