Rigoletto in Pop Culture

A man in the audience of an opera munches loudly on Doritos. Other opera patrons look on with frustration.

By: Jennifer Colgan

Some of the best-known opera arias have made their way into movies, commercials, video games, and more, hundreds of years after the composer set their pen to paper. Have you ever wondered what causes some opera arias to stand the test of time, and even permeate pop culture? Is it a catchy tune? Provocative subject matter?

“La donna è mobile” from Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto has all that and more. Verdi was so sure the tenor aria would be a hit that it was rehearsed under tight secrecy leading up to the show’s opening. He was right—it immediately became the go-to melody for Venetian gondoliers.  “La donna è mobile” is still with us today, and here are four places you might have heard it in popular media!

As part of its 40th Anniversary Season, Opera Colorado presents Rigoletto November 5-13. Tickets are on sale now, starting at just $39>>

Pop Culture Moment #1: Dancing with the Stars

Superbowl champion Donald Driver and his partner Peta Mergatroyd waltz to Verdi’s tune on the dance competition series Dancing with the Stars.


Pop Culture Moment #2: Scrubbing Bubbles

An animated bubble takes on the aria in this ad for disinfecting foam, which gives a whole new meaning to singing in the shower!


Pop Culture Moment #3: Doritos Super Bowl Ad

In this commercial for Doritos, an opera singer performs “La donna è mobile” while audience members snack on spicy nacho chips (and chaos ensues).


Pop Culture Moment #4: Leggo’s Vine Ripe Tomato Sauce

The lyrics to “La donna è mobile” are creatively tweaked in this pasta sauce commercial. “Good sauce is hard to find, don’t just use any kind…”


Leave the Ellie with “La donna è mobile” in your head after you experience it in one of four performances from November 5-13. Tickets start at just $39.>>



What other opera arias have had their pop culture moments? Let us know in the comments below.


One Reply to “Rigoletto in Pop Culture”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *