Verdi's Rigoletto and Mantua... the true story

The name of Mantua is notorious in the world for having been chosen by Verdi as the set for his Opera “Rigoletto”. Actually the plot of the opera is fictional. At very first the beginning Verdi wanted to set the musical drama in Paris, at the court Francois I, depicting the king as an immoral and cynical womanizer. The Board of Censors would never have accepted this, because it would have seen as an offense against the dignity of the European kings reigning in that period. 
So Verdi decided to move the action of the Opera from the royal court of France to the duchy of Mantua: the Gonzaga Family had long been extinct by the beginning of 18th Century, and their Dukedom did not exist anymore. So nobody could be offended. 
As soon as the Opera “Rigoletto” became a theatrical triumph, the people in Mantua started to look for real places for its fictional story. So the rectory (parsonage) of the Cathedral, located in front of the Ducal Palace, began to be named “Rigoletto's house”.
A statue of Rigoletto, the fictitious inhabitant of the house, was made by Aldo Falchi in 1978, to be set in the garden.

The “Rigoletto” was first performed at La Fenice theatre in Venice, on March 11th 1851.
In 2010 a great live performance of “Rigoletto” has been broadcasted from Mantua. The cast included Placido Domingo (as Rigoletto), Vittorio Grigolo (as the Duke of Mantua) and Julia Novikova  (as Gilda). The Music has been conducted by Zubin Mehta.

Breaking news! Rigoletto on PBS on July 15th 2011

The Worldwide Broadcast, recorded Live in High Def at the actual locations of the Opera comes to “Great Performances” on Friday, July 15th at 9:30 p.m. ET on PBS (check local listings).
“Great Performances” is a production of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media partners.
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