Rigoletto is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi and it is considered by many to be the first of the operatic masterpieces of Verdi's middle-to-late career. Its tragic story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto's beautiful daughter Gilda. The opera's original title, La maledizione (The Curse), refers to the curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter had been seduced by the Duke with Rigoletto's encouragement. This Opera is known to be one of Verdi's most musically demanding and dramatic scores which significantly evident in the third act- with the curse coming to life when Gilda likewise falls in love with the Duke and eventually sacrifices her life to save him from the assassin, Sparafucile hired by her father. In this assignment, I'll be discussing the way in Verdi's music contributed to the extremely dramatic impact of the final act of Rigoletto. .
The final act is superb from its first note to its last. It contains a song for the Duke, a quartet, a trio and a final duet; none of these numbers can easily be extracted from its context, not even the famous or infamous "La donna e mobile". The entire act is an music of genius, build-ups of climactic moments into various melodic units, aria, duet, quartet, but never losing its essential unity, its sense of forward movement, or the sheer perfection of its musical structure. The tune of 'La donna e mobile' owes some of its effectiveness to the explosive contrast with the music that precedes it. Practically every phrase sung by Gilda and Rigoletto in their colloquy, and the few remarks of the Duke and Sparafucile, have a downward droop, descending so predictably as to indicate disaster. Into this atmosphere bursts 'La donna e mobile' as though a champagne cork has been suddenly released. It is an outstanding example of musical originality.