Difference between revisions of "Le Roi s'Amuse"

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''Rigoletto e la sua tragedia'' (1956), ''Rigoletto'' (1982), ''Rigoletto''  (1993) and ''Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto Story'' (2005). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigoletto.
''Rigoletto e la sua tragedia'' (1956), ''Rigoletto'' (1982), ''Rigoletto''  (1993) and ''Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto Story'' (2005). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigoletto.
===''[[ The Prince's Play]]'', 1996===
===''[[ The Prince's Play]]'' (1996)===

Revision as of 05:14, 7 December 2019

Le Roi s'Amuse (lit. "the King amuses himself" or "the King has fun") is a French play in five acts written Victor Hugo ()[].

The original text

First performed on 22 November 1832, the play was banned by the French government after one evening, and, despite vain court battles, remained so for 50 years.

It finally had a second performance at the Comédie-Française on 22 November 1882, the date of the play's 50th anniversary, leading to 19 performances that year and 28 more in 1883.

Translations and adaptations

Besides the various versions of the opera (see below), the play has seen adaptation inter alia as the short story 'Sense of Humour' by Damon Runyon (published in the collection Furthermore, 1938); Il re si diverte ("He amuses himself", a 1941 Italian film); and The Prince's Play (an English play by Tony Harrison, 1996).

Rigoletto (1851)

Based on the play Le Roi S'Amuse by Victor Hugo (), The opera was originally called La Maledizione ("The Curse"), with an Italian libretto written by Francesco Maria Piave ()[].

Because of censorship by the Austrian authorities in Venice, the authors set the story in Mantua, and renamed the characters, e.g. with François the First becoming the Duke of Mantua, Triboulet becoming Rigoletto, and Blanche becoming Gilda, and so on.

It tells the tragic story of the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto, and Rigoletto's beautiful daughter Gilda.

The opera's was originally called La Maledizione ("The Curse"), and refers to a curse placed on both the Duke and Rigoletto by a courtier whose daughter the Duke has seduced with Rigoletto's encouragement.

Despite serious initial problems with the Austrian censors who had control over northern Italian theatres at the time, the Verdi opera had a triumphant premiere at La Fenice in Venice on 11 March 1851.

A number of film versions have been made of the opera, including Rigoletto (1918), Rigoletto e la sua tragedia (1956), Rigoletto (1982), Rigoletto (1993) and Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto Story (2005). See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigoletto.

The Prince's Play (1996)

Tony Harrison translated and adapted the work for the National Theatre in London in 1996, as The Prince's Play, set in Victorian London, with the central character (played by Ken Stott) now a comic at the court of Victoria and the philanderer villain the future Edward VII. The play has been published by Faber and Faber.

Performance history in South Africa

1893-4: Performed by the Lyric Opera Company on tour in South Africa, including performances in the Opera House, Cape Town.




D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.203-205

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