Share article about #Italian Opera: Was Gilda Legitimately Raped – Naming and Understanding Sexual Violence in Rigoletto and Beyond

Was Gilda Legitimately Raped: Naming and Understanding Sexual Violence in Rigoletto and Beyond

By Laura Petrarcha published on the Opera21 blog: http://opera21.tumblr.com/post/66696568147/was-gilda-legitimately-raped-naming-and-understanding

In December 1850, a few months before Verdi’s Rigoletto was set to premiere at La Fenice, Verdi received a letter from the Austrian censors. At the time, Venice was a part of the Austrian Empire, and the Austrian government censors plundered all public art (especially opera) for material that was politically or morally suspect. Rigoletto, which was then called La Maledizione, enraged them. They made several demands of Verdi and his librettist Francesco Maria Piave: they wanted to remove Rigoletto’s hump, make the Duke more sympathetic, deemphasize the curse, and get rid of the sack in the final scene. An extremely angry Verdi wrote a letter to the president of La Fenice theater explaining why he couldn’t make the revisions. Here is an excerpt:

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