SARASOTA- Women are fickle, at least according to the Duke in Giuseppe Verdi's famous opera, Rigoletto.

"The song is 'La Donna E Mobile' it occurs in the third act. So it's kind of ironic that the duke sings this kind of jaunty tune about the fickleness of woman, when he of course is the most fickle of all characters," said Sarasota Opera's executive director, Richard Russel.

Composed between 1850 and 1851, Rigoletto was adored by audiences when it first premiered in Venice in March of 1851.

"There's a famous story and I don't know that it's true or not, but that Verdi actually withheld the music from the singer that was singing was singing this role until the very last moment because he was afraid that the tune would be so popular it would be sung on the streets before the opera opened," said Russel.


Even now, more than 150 years later, it's one of the world's most performed operas. The centerpiece song left the walls of the opera and welcomed the world in.


"Well because it's such a simple tune and it's short, it's very recognizable," said Russel. "It's been used in movies and commercials; there are famous images of it. It's a catchy tune so people migrated to it."


The song focuses on the Duke as he compares a woman to a feather in the wind, constantly changing her voice and mind, but as Russel explains leads to something darker.


"It's really meant as sort of a light lead up to the tragedy that ends the opera, which is the murder of Gilda," said Russel. It doesn't have a plot point in the opera except as a moment of light repose before the drama."

Rigoletto plays at the Sarasota Opera November 1-17. Click here for more information and tickets to the opera.