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Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto comes from the late-middle period of the composer's productive life, when he was incorporating more realism in his operas. The title character is a hunchbacked jester who serves the Duke of Mantua. The Duke is a rapacious despoiler of women, a hobby that Rigoletto underscores by openly mocking the husbands of the Duke's conquests. One of those cuckolded husbands curses Rigoletto for his sharp tongue, and in very short order that curse reaches fruition: The Duke now fancies Rigoletto's daughter, a beautiful woman Rigoletto has thus far successfully kept hidden from the courtiers. Despite Rigoletto's best intentions, the bloom of first love lures his daughter from safety, and then everything comes crashing down. Union Avenue Opera continues its season with Rigoletto. The opera is performed in Italian with English subtitles at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday (July 31 through August 8) at Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Avenue; 314-361-2881 or www.unionavenueopera.org). Tickets are $32 to $52.
Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m. Starts: July 31. Continues through Aug. 8, 2015

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