Who can resist the womanizing Duke of Mantua? Young, handsome and wealthy, everything is his for the taking – including the heart of the beautiful Gilda, daughter of Rigoletto, his deformed court jester.

For this return of David McVicar’s powerful production, a double cast presents an exciting mix of both familiar and new interpretations, and Edward Downes – a leading conductor of Verdi – proves that even after more than 150 years the soaring melodies still charm, the story still thrills and the climax is as heartbreaking and terrifying as ever.

For the first cast, Piotr Beczala, in his second role this Season, is the pleasure loving Duke, while Paolo Gavanelli recreates the title role. Anna Netrebko is Gilda, the trusting daughter, and Marina Domashenko makes her Royal Opera debut as Maddalena.

For the second cast, Rolando Villazón returns after his acclaimed appearance last Season as Hoffmann, and Dmitri Hvorostovsky makes his Covent Garden role debut as the Duke’s mistreated, cursed and vengeful jester. Ekaterina Siourinasings Gilda in this production and Viktoria Vizin plays Maddalena, whose assassin-brother, Sparafucile, is taken in both casts by Eric Halfvarson.

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