Rigoletto is in the pay of the Duke of Mantua. His job is to keep his master laughing, and to deflect attention from the Duke's many peccadillos. When the Duke's eye locks onto a touchingly innocent young maid, Rigoletto turns from spiteful joker into desperate father.
Verdi paints the characters transformations with a cascade of brilliant arias and ensembles, from the heartbreaking 'Pari siamo!' to the wickedly jaunty 'La donna è mobile'.