GRADUATION!! (Grad School)

Wednesday, April 2

I came…I saw…..I was not conquered.

The hard drive was a complete loss but somehow my iTunes library has been restored…ALL of IT! Who knows what the original problem was but when things were transferred to the new hard drive my iTunes library didn’t put up a fuss. *sigh* All is right in my world again.

Yesterday my day ended at the Opera. I was able to get discount tickets for a performance of Rigoletto at the Kennedy Center through my Generation O membership. Amber and Patience agreed to join me for the performance and we have been looking forward to it for the last week.
Boo and I arrived early and had time to walk around and get some snacks before patience arrived. I was reminded again of why I live out here. I love it! When Patience arrived we took our seats.

I am just learning to appreciate the opera, it is not something I was raised on. As a matter of fact, the only thing I knew about Rigoletto was the Feature Films for Families version that I saw as a kid. For some odd reason, I didn’t think that was the story I would be seeing. I love music and knew that regardless of the story, the music of Verdi would be enjoyable. And it was, the music was beautiful. There is something so moving about the opera. Even when I don’t understand the words (thank heavens for super-titles) I can feel the music move through me.

The story, on the other hand, left much to be desired. I had heard some of the songs before, even enjoyed them. I almost wish I had chosen not to see the performance so I wouldn’t know what the songs mean.

Quick Synopsis:
Rigoletto is the deformed jester of a duke; he spends his days making fun of the courtiers expecting the duke’s name to protect him. The duke is a particularly raunchy fellow who believes that all women are fickle and were made for one thing. (Yeah he is just a peach) The duke and other courtiers spend their days “seducing” each others young wives, mistresses, and daughters. Whether said women want to be seduced does not seem to matter.
Rigoletto has wisely hidden his 16 year old daughter Gilda from the town, as she is all that he has left to love in this world. The Duke finds Gilda at church one Sunday and after months of eye conversations he follows her home. One night he sneaks in and convinces Gilda that he loves her, that she is the only one for him…blah blah blah… Unfortunately young Gilda believes him; she is too naive to know that the words might not be true. The courtiers, believing that Gilda is Rigoletto’s mistress, kidnap her and take her to the palace. The duke learns that Gilda has been abducted and is in the palace so he rushes to be with her. Rigoletto, pleads with the courtiers to return his daughter, he fears that the duke will…well…. do what the duke usually does.
When Gilda is finally found, she confesses to her father that she had previously met with the Duke and loves him. She speaks of the “shame” of the abduction. (After some discussion last night; Patience and I believe that rape or “seduction” is meant to be inferred here.) Rigoletto is angry (well duh) and swears vengeance upon the duke. Gilda tries to talk him out of it but he can’t be persuaded.
Rigoletto tries to prove to Gilda of the duke’s fickle-ness by showing the duke trying to seduce another woman. Even with proof of his infidelity, naive little Gilda professes her love. Rigoletto sets assassination plans in motion. When Gilda learns of a way to save the duke’s life she gives her life to preserve his. Rigoletto realizes that his vengeance has killed his daughter.

The End

I know, wasn’t that uplifting? As I watched last night, I kept trying to find redeeming value in any of the characters. Just one…that was all I needed. But no, the Duke is just a slime ball, you think he is going to give it all up for love, but then he falls right back to the same routine. He doesn’t even get to learn that his life is saved by the one he threw away. Rigoletto’s own actions cause his downfall. If he hadn’t been so cruel to the courtiers, they would not have sought revenge by abducting his daughter. Even more so, he and Gilda would have been safely ensconced in Verona finding her a new husband if he hadn’t been seeking his own revenge. And young Gilda, I know women have brains, even the naive ones, but I am not sure where hers were. I’m not sure Verdi thought of women’s need for emotional self preservation but he seems to be under the definite impression that the fairer sex was given the disposition of angels. I mean, who else would be willing to sacrifice their love and their life, for someone who thought so little of them in return.

I am always grateful that I was born in this generation. I don’t consider myself a feminist but I doubt I could have handled the general mindset of earlier centuries. I value myself too highly to be a viewed as a doormat or piece of garbage to be thrown aside. Now I just have to convince myself that all men aren’t as fickle as the Duke or as egocentric as Rigoletto

1 comment:

Pache said...

But, Rigoletto isn't supposed to make you happy! It's an exploration of the worse side of people and a cautionary tale. And is is masterfully done! Victor Hugo really knows how to write a tragedy and Verdi really knows how to make it even more powerful through music. It's just amazing! Even as out of it as I was, last night, I couldn't help being moved. I just have to appreciate anything that can bring that kind of emotion to people. It is my favorite Opera, for sure.
And the Kennedy center always makes me happy to live here. Thanks for inviting me along!