Rigoletto in Pop Culture
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!
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…”
What other opera arias have had their pop culture moments? Let us know in the comments below.