How far are we prepared to go in accepting the vices of someone close to us? For the hunchback Rigoletto, court jester to the Duke of Mantua, the limit is reached when his master, a licentious multiple philander, seduces his daughter, Gilda. But when the jester’s revenge becomes embroiled with the curse against him… Verdi premiered Rigoletto in 1851, an opera created with his librettist Francesco Maria Piave and adapted from Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’amuse. It was a triumph. This opera occupies a special place in the composer’s canon: it marks the beginning of the mature period of his career during which he would go on to compose Il Trovatore and La Traviata. The Canadian director, Robert Carsen, after his Mitridate in 2007, is back at La Monnaie to direct Rigoletto. Conductor Carlo Rizzi pays tribute to the Italian composer.