Liszt drew on three themes from Verdi’s “Rigoletto” in this glittering virtuoso work; its climax is the finale with the theme in the quartet from Act III “Bella figlia dell’amore”. If one ignores the fact that at this point in
the opera the betrayal of Gilda's love is made known, the work offers no sign that it was written at a time of deep depression: Liszt’s hope of legally marrying Princess von Sayn-Wittgenstein was slowly disappearing. Maybe Liszt's opera paraphrases are therefore to be understood as memories of happier times in Weimar.