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RIGOLETTO - the meeting with Sparafucile

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Published on 8 Sep 2007

From the 1999 Bel Canto Opera production of Rigoletto: On his way home from work at the Ducal palace where he is jester, Rigoletto (David Purcell) discovers the assassin Sparafucile (Edward Harper) lurking by his garden gate.

RIGOLETTO: I feel the father's curse on me!
SPARAFUCILE: Signor...
RIGOLETTO: (thinking him a thief) Go...I have nothing.
SPARAFUCILE: Don't worry. I'm here for business. I offer you my skill.
RIGOLETTO: What business?
SPARAFUCILE: I specialise in getting rid of foes and rivals. I'm sure there's someone...
RIGOLETTO: Someone?
SPARAFUCILE: ...a man you wish to dispose of.
RIGOLETTO: Assassin! How much would be your fee for a grandee who's titled?
SPARAFUCILE: Nobles are somewhat dearer.
RIGOLETTO: I'd need to know your terms.
SPARAFUCILE: Half of the total in advance, the balance when it's done.
RIGOLETTO: A monster. When do you do it? Where do you ply this trade?
SPARAFUCILE: Usually in dim-lit alleyways, or better still at my place. I come up from behind him...and slit the jugular. He's dead.
RIGOLETTO: When it's at your place?
SPARAFUCILE: It's easier. My sister's there to help me. She's attractive, skillful and cunning. She lures my victims to me.
RIGOLETTO: To your place?
SPARAFUCILE: While they're making love...
RIGOLETTO: I see now.
SPARAFUCILE: This knife fulfils the contract. You want it?
RIGOLETTO: No. Maybe later.
SPARAFUCILE: You'll need me soon.
RIGOLETTO: Who knows?
SPARAFUCILE: 'Sparafucil'...remember me!
RIGOLETTO: A strange name.
SPARAFUCILE: I'm a gypsy.
RIGOLETTO: If I need you, where can I find you?
SPARAFUCILE: Here...every evening.
RIGOLETTO: Go!
SPARAFUCILE: Sparafucil...Sparafucil.
RIGOLETTO: Go! Go! Go! Go!

We are brothers. Both assassins.
My tongue's my weapon. I murder with derision...he, with his dagger.
I feel the father's curse on me!
O humankind! Wicked nature! Witness the product of your vile creation. A hunchback - twisted, malicious. A laughing stock - crippled and vicious. Damned at birth, put on earth only to entertain. Have I not got a soul or feelings? Can't I shed tears?
Look at the Duke, my master - carefree and healthy, young and handsome - wealthy. I am there when he calls me: "Make me laugh, fool - amuse me!" and I must dance attendance. Humiliation! I hate you and all your stupid sneering courtiers. If I cause them pain, I'm happy. If I'm rude and cruel...you made me play the monster. Once I leave the palace, I turn back into a human.
I feel the father's curse on me!
Like the furies, it comes to plague my soul. I can't escape it. Does it portend disaster? Ah no! What a nonsense!

words© Tom Boyd

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