SARASOTA- A story of revenge, curses, death and yes a sad clown; Verdi’s Rigoletto kicks off Sarasota Opera’s fall season with some of Operas most popular music.

“Rigoletto’s job as the Court Jester is to make the Duke laugh,” Stage Director Stephanie Sundine said. “At anyone’s expense.”

And the job that’s meant to bring joy to others only brings Rigoletto pain.

“It ends up being a job that he hates because they all hate him ultimately,” Sundine said. “Even if they laugh at him, even if they are entertained by him, he is a hated man and he knows that.”

His life gets even more complicated when his young daughter comes to court.

“She has been living in a convent,” Sundine said. “And she more recently has come to live in Mantua and be under the care of her father, and he tries to protect her and he can’t do it.”

Stage Director Stephanie Sundine says the glorious music and compelling characters make Rigoletto perfect for people new to opera.

“It’s a story that draws you in immediately,” Sundine said. “You know right away you want to know what happens with these characters, you want to follow their path, you want to follow the arc of their characters individually.”

And see how the tormentor at court winds up being tortured himself.

“He ends up paying for that very thing,” Sundine said. “For the fact that he torments so many people in the court that it backfires on him, and it’s a tragically compelling story that we follow all the way to the end.”

Rigoletto premieres Friday with a story that parallels some of the downfalls of comedians in the past few years and runs through November 17th. Tomorrow we highlight a song from Rigoletto that may be one of the most well-known opera songs ever.