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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Video of the Day: S.F. Opera Opens Its 90th Season with Rigoletto

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 8:30 AM

TERRENCE MCCARTHY
  • Terrence McCarthy

When Verdi's Rigoletto debuted in 1851, censors demanded changes. The libretto, based on Victor Hugo's long-banned play The King Amuses Himself, now begins with the shameless Duke of Mantua (a thinly veiled Francis I of France) and his hunchback jester, Rigoletto, who serves as the king's procurer, even while protecting his own beautiful daughter. Of course, the story ends in suicide and despair -- it is an opera -- but this classic has drawn fresh awareness of late.

A 2004 production, directed for film by the notorious Italian politician Vittorio Sgarbi, elicited two Grammy nominations and drooling crowds at the Venice Biennale. More recently, a television crew attempted to faithfully follow Verdi's stage direction -- the action took place over two days on the grounds of the Gfonzola Ducal Palace, and was broadcast live to 148 countries. And, this year, in celebration of its 90th anniversary, the San Francisco Opera has chosen Rigoletto to open its season. Folks with deep pockets may enjoy a Notte di Splendore, a tented ball and dinner preceding the performance; those without two cents to rub together may wait until September 15, when there will be a free simulcast on AT&T Park's high-definition scoreboard. The rest of us should arrive Friday night.

Rigoletto starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7 (and continues through Sept. 30) at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness (at Grove), S.F. Admission is $22-$340 ($10 Standing Room Only tickets go on sale at 10 a.m.).

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.
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