The opera s dramatic structure frames and enhances the characters. Scenes of magnificence regularly alternate with scenes of darkness and squalor. From sumptuous interiors, we move to a dark street, a lonely inn. The secondary figures are astutely counterpoised: the plotting courtiers against the plotting Sparafucile and Maddalena (also ambiguously tender-hearted). When Rigoletto says Pari siamo , he could be expressing the motto of the whole work: the beautiful and the ugly can be equally good, equally evil.
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