A scene from Opera Colorado's production of "Rigoletto."

(Photo: Tim Fuller/Opera Colorado)

Opera Colorado is gearing up for the first of two productions planned for this spring: Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” which tells the story of a cursed court jester.

The production, opens Saturday, March 15, at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, with additional performances March 18, 21 and 23. Opera Colorado’s version features baritone Gordon Hawkins in the title role and sets the story in the 1930s, during the Spanish Civil War.

CPR Classical will carry the opening performance in a live broadcast at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15.

When Verdi first composed the opera, it met resistance from censors, CPR Classical’s Charley Samson notes.

“They regarded the story to be one of such repellant immorality and obscene triviality,” Samson says.

But Verdi prevailed. “Rigoletto” became an immediate smash hit, despite the tragic story.

“Spoiler alert: It will all come to tears,” Samson warns.

For more on the opera from Charley Samson and Cherity Koepke, director of education and community engagement for Opera Colorado, click the audio link above.

Opera Colorado’s second production of the season, Bizet's “Carmen,” plays May 3, 6, 9 and 11. 

Charley Samson shares insights on classical music during the 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. hours weekdays on CPR Classical.