The libretto for Giuseppe Verdi's 'Rigoletto' was adapted by Francesco Maria Piave from Victor Hugo's play Le roi s'amuse which was so controversial it had been banned in Paris after one performance. Le roi here is the Duke, a renowned womaniser, who seduces ladies as their husbands are taunted by his hunchback jester Rigoletto. An elderly nobleman, Monterone, curses them both for seducing his daughter and Ceprano, whose wife has been with the Duke, plots with the courtiers to punish him.
Rigoletto is suspected of keeping a mistress, so while Rigoletto is out, the Duke slips into his house and finding Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda, he proffers his love to her and she is smitten. After he leaves, the courtiers break in and carry off Gilda to the Duke’s bedchamber. Soon Rigoletto enters and realises the mistake just in time as the dishevelled Gilda runs in. As Monterone is led to the dungeon, Rigoletto vows to avenge them both.
Rigoletto pays the assassin Sparafucile to murder the Duke as his sister Maddalena flirts with him. However, Maddalena persuades her brother to kill not the Duke but the next visitor to the inn instead, so, overhearing and resolving to sacrifice herself for the Duke, Gilda enters the inn and is stabbed. Rigoletto finds Gilda dying and begging forgiveness: Monterone's curse is fulfilled.
This is the Schirmer edition of the Libretto, in the original Italian with an English version by Ruth and Thomas Martin.