The lecherous noblemen of the Mantuan court must be entertained, and a deformed jester spares no one his jeers to ensure that they are. And yet he prays that the scathing mockery he heaps on the suffering of others will not return to haunt him. All he must do is seal his work off from his family life. But when his daughter, following her own heart, leaves the safety of those walls, Rigoletto's secret double life leads her to her doom.
The popularity of Verdi's work is no accident: with Shakespearean profundity and thrilling music, it depicts a tragedy of acceptance and schadenfreude, love and self-sacrifice.