Remembering Joe Green: The Life & Art of Giuseppe Verdi, Part II

The most well loved tenor aria of all time is from Verdi’s masterpiece “Rigoletto”. It’s the anthem song of the chauvinistic pig who (keeping things polite) is a tad too preoccupied with loving (followed by immediately leaving) the ladies and is sung by the character considered to be the Lord King Chauvinist of both Pig and Player alike, the Duke of Mantua.

Before the opera even made it to the stage, Verdi knew he had a major hit on his hands, if only for Act III’s opening aria, “La Donna e Mobile”. When Rigoletto made its debut in Venice, rehearsals were held in the tightest of secrecy for fear of the Duke’s aria being pirated. No matter. It’s been said the next day after the opera’s Venetian premiere, every gondolier could be heard throughout the city crooning the Duke’s ditty from the canals.

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