The Duke of Mantua is a serial womaniser. At a palace party, not content with the married Countess Ceprano, the Duke reveals he is also infatuated with a mysterious woman he has seen in church.
The hunchbacked jester Rigoletto jokes that the Duke should have the Countess’s husband murdered. Count Ceprano vows to kidnap Rigoletto’s lover as punishment. Chaos descends when the elderly Count Monterone arrives and confronts the Duke for seducing his daughter – a third woman! Rigoletto takes his jesting too far, and the old man curses him.
Rigoletto’s so-called ‘lover’ is in fact his daughter, Gilda, whom he keeps under lock and key at home. She has secretly fallen in love with the Duke of Mantua, who came to her church in disguise. Gilda is kidnapped by Count Ceprano and delivered into the Duke’s clutches. Rigoletto engages an assassin to exact his revenge. But before the day is out, the old man’s curse will exert its deadly power.