By Giuseppe Verdi
Rigoletto is based on a play Le roi s’amuse (the King Amuses Himself) by French playwright Victor Hugo, who also wrote Les Miserables. Written in 1832, the play ostensibly depicts the escapades of Francis I of France. However, censors of the time believed it contained insulting references to King Louis-Philippe and banned it after one performance.
Verdi wrote Rigoletto in 40 days for the premiere in Venice in 1851. Already famous, Verdi knew La donna è mobile would be a big hit, so the tenor for the premier had to swear he would not sing, or even whistle, the tune except during the rehearsals and could use his
score only a few evenings before the premiere.