Backstage at San Francisco Opera > September 2012 > Rigoletto and Pop Culture
Rigoletto and Pop Culture
"The subject is grand, immense, and has a character that is one of the most important creations of the theatre, of all countries and all ages." –Giuseppe Verdi

Our 90th season began with the classic and well-known, Rigoletto. Whether you're a seasoned opera buff or a novice, you've heard the tenor showpiece "La donna è mobile." Just for kicks, we decided to peruse the vast and diverse world of pop culture for different renditions and mentions of this opera.

Let us embark on a brief YouTube tour of Rigoletto, shall we? You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll gasp and you may even say, "huh?"

Some Like it Hot
Billy Wilder's screwball comedy starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon truly is a classic. The film's gangsters genuinely like opera and George Raft uses Rigoletto as an alibi. While this scene isn't as famous as the iconic ending or Marilyn's musical numbers, it's a great inside-opera joke.

Talking Tom Cat
Our modern world of smartphones and apps is a big one. Who knew that the popular Talking Tom Cat was a "La donna è mobile" fan?

Star Trek: Voyager
The Doctor is daydreaming. No, he's not daydreaming of riches or world peace. He's daydreaming of singing Rigoletto's famous aria for his wowed crew. We won't lie, the video takes a weird turn halfway through, but it's well worth it for a few laughs.

The Family Man
Remember this Nicolas Cage movie? We won't blame you if you don't, but what a way to start a movie!

The Sopranos Commercial
The groundbreaking HBO drama ran for six seasons and revolved around the New Jersey-based Italian-American mobster Tony Soprano. Check out this great commercial for the show—which displays some very creative editing.

The Three Tenors
You may think that this one seems a bit obvious—but hear us out first! The Three Tenors achieved global superstardom. Everyone from your grandmother to the kid you babysat heard of the trio of tenor stars. P.S. Don’t blink in the beginning or you'll miss an actor and ex-politician in the audience…

Elmo's World
Truthfully, this one is in the "huh" category. It might be a little hard to watch, but the point is that kids are being exposed to opera at a young age, and that's the important thing. It's all about the kids!

Doritos Commercials
The chip company came out with not one, but two commercials that used Verdi's famous aria. Which one do you like better? We vote for the slingshot baby. (Really. How often do you get to say "slingshot" and "baby" in the same sentence?)


Posted: 9/21/2012 11:30:00 AM by San Francisco Opera
Filed under: 2012-13Season, Rigoletto


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