Artwork for Oliver Mears's new production of Rigoletto, The Royal Opera ©2021 ROH. Design by Dan Muzzi


18 February12 March 2022
The performance lasts about 2 hours 45 minutes, including one interval.
Main Stage
Opera and music

The Season opens with a new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, directed by Oliver Mears – his first as Director of The Royal Opera. This production sees Verdi’s masterpiece as a modern morality play that pits power against innocence, beauty against ugliness, in a pitiless world of luxurious decadence, corruption and social decay.

Antonio Pappano and Paul Wynne Griffiths conduct in the Autumn, with Carlos Álvarez in the title role alongside Lisette Oropesa and Liparit Avetisyan. In February Stefano Montanari conducts a cast that includes Luca Salsi, Rosa Feola and Javier Camarena.

Listen out for the return of the opera's most famous aria, 'La donna è mobile', in the final act as we find out who gets the last laugh. 

Suitable for ages 12+

Contains violence and moderate, implied sexual activity. Rigoletto features flashing lights in Act III.

Approximate running times
Act I: 1 hour 5 minutes
Interval: 25 minutes
Act II: 30 minutes
Pause: 5 minutes
Act III: 40 minutes
Sung in Italian with English surtitles

Season Principal

Mrs Aline Foriel-Destezet

Position of Music Director Maestro Antonio Pappano

generously supported by Mrs Susan A. Olde OBE

Generously supported by


Generous philanthropic support from

Julia and Hans Rausing, Sandra and Anthony Gutman, Charles Holloway, Melinda and Donald Quintin, Simon and Virginia Robertson and the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund

Cast sheets



The Duke of Mantua is a serial womaniser. At a palace party, not content with the married Countess Ceprano, the Duke reveals he is also infatuated with a mysterious woman he has seen in church.

The hunchbacked jester Rigoletto jokes that the Duke should have the Countess’s husband murdered. Count Ceprano vows to kidnap Rigoletto’s lover as punishment. Chaos descends when the elderly Count Monterone arrives and confronts the Duke for seducing his daughter – a third woman! Rigoletto takes his jesting too far, and the old man curses him.

Rigoletto’s so-called ‘lover’ is in fact his daughter, Gilda, whom he keeps under lock and key at home. She has secretly fallen in love with the Duke of Mantua, who came to her church in disguise. Gilda is kidnapped by Count Ceprano and delivered into the Duke’s clutches. Rigoletto engages an assassin to exact his revenge. But before the day is out, the old man’s curse will exert its deadly power.


Cast may vary depending on date. Go to dates and prices to view casting.


CompanyThe Royal Opera

MusicGiuseppe Verdi

LibrettoFrancesco Maria Piave

DirectorOliver Mears

Set designerSimon Lima Holdsworth

Costume designerIlona Karas

Lighting designerFabiana Piccioli

Movement directorAnna Morrissey


There is lift access and step-free seating to most levels of the Main Stage auditorium, except the Orchestra Stalls, which are reached by a minimum of nine steps. There are more than 100 seats in the Stalls Circle, Balcony and Amphitheatre which are accessible without the need to negotiate steps. In addition, many seats in these areas and in the Donald Gordon Grand Tier and Orchestra Stalls are accessible by 10 steps or fewer. Find out more about accessing the Main Stage Auditorium.

If you have concerns about how our Covid-19 safety measures may affect your access requirements, please contact



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