A ball in the palace of Duke of Mantua. Amidst the merriment, the court jester Rigoletto provokes the count to steal count Ceprano’s wife. Enraged by yet another trick, the courtiers decide to teach the jester a lesson, and they suggest to the Duke to steal Rigoletto’s lover, who he supposedly hides at his home. Count Monterone’s sudden appearance attracts their attention: the old man demands that his daughter, who fell victim to the Duke’s escapades, is returned to him. But the Duke orders that the poor father is seized. The jester’s mockery is the last drop – Monterone curses Rigoletto.
Rigoletto returns home. He meets an assassin on his way home, and remembers his name just in case. Finally, he is home. He lives with his daughter Gilda and her maid Giovanna. Knowing the Duke’s manners, he carefully hides her from the public, and she is even afraid to tell him that she has taken a fancy to a young man. The young man is the Duke. Posing as a simple student, he passionately proclaims his love for her, but hearing a noise outside, he is forced to leave. Count Ceprano and his friends appear near Rigoletto’s house. They intend to steal the jester’s mysterious beauty, but the jester suddenly returns. To dispel his suspicions, the courtiers convince the jester that they are preparing a kidnapping of Count Ceprano’s wife, who’s castle is situated nearby. Rigoletto agrees to take part in the escapade, and he is blindfolded… But when everyone disappears, he is horrified to learn the truth.