By Giuseppe Verdi

ISBN: 9780714544182

80 pages

RRP: £8.00

“The subject cannot fail!” exulted Verdi, when recommending Victor Hugo’s play Le Roi s’amuse to his librettist. But the censors made every effort to stop it, and the baritone was not easily convinced that a hunchback role would suit him. Jonathan Keates gives a vivid insight into the composition of a masterpiece. Verdi long afterwards thought it his best work, and Roger Parker explains why. Peter Nichols, author of several bestselling books in Italy, picks out some of the peculiarly Italian attitudes and characters in the opera which make it timeless – and incredibly modern.

Contents: Introduction, Jonathan Keates; Musical Commentary, Roger Parker; The Timelessness of ‘Rigoletto’, Peter Nichols; Rigoletto: Text by Francesco Maria Piave after Victor Hugo’s ‘Le Roi s’amuse’; Rigoletto: English translation by James Fenton

For a full list of Calder Opera Guides in association with English National Opera click here



  • Brilliantly produced and superb value.

    Sunday Times

  • Wholehearted recommendation of this valuable new series.


  • All these will provide the new opera-goer with food for thought.

    Daily Telegraph

Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901) is one of Italy’s most celebrated opera composers. His best-known operas include Rigoletto, Il trovatore, La traviata and Aida.