This Rigoletto, filmed live at the Zurich Opera House in 2006, has three strong leads to recommend it. In the title role, Leo Nucci fully represents all of Rigoletto’s character traits and range of emotions—the hunchback’s lancing wit, fearfulness, and self-loathing when we first meet him and later, his obsessive need for revenge. Both Rigoletto’s sense of righteous triumph when he believes he’s got the Duke dead in the bag and his inconsolable grief at the drama’s end are palpable.
For many opera fans the favourite Rigoletto on dvd remains the 1983 film version starring the young Pavarotti as the dashing Duke, his irrepressible singing and high spirits contrasting sharply with the gut wrenching wretchedness of the jester played by Wixell almost to perfection,and of course the inimitable Gruberova as Gilda the jester's daughter.(For me this together with the Domingo/Migenes 'Carmen', and the Domingo/Stratas 'La Traviata' represents the best of opera films). Now comes the 2006 production of Rigoletto, staged by the Zurich Opera House with Chorus and Orchestra wonderfully conducted by Santi, recorded in High-Definition and transfered to an Arthaus Blu Ray disc of breathtaking quality. I'm not exaggerating. Even by today's Hi-Def standards, the picture quality here is simply stunning: inky blackness, realistic night time scenes accurately rendered with proper light and shadow effects, atmospheric blue lighting, and the sets and costumes show up in vivid pop-up colours with razor sharp contrasts… By Chhan Thuan Kiat
This 1977 production was highly enthusiastically received. Speight Jenkins, the noted critic and opera impresario, wrote of Cornell MacNeil's Rigoletto in the New York Post that "few have ever sung a more moving denunciation of the courtiers or a better Vengeance Duet with Gilda. His was a great Verdian interpretation… Dramatically (Domingo) and Miss Cotrubas did not make a false move, and the same camn be said for Justino Diaz' ominous, well-sung Sparafucile, Isola Jones, the Maddalena…while John Cheek made a stirring Monterone. conducted with the command of Verdi that has so often been his trademark. His adherence to the composer's markings, his rhythm and his opneing of the traditional small cuts in the opera all made for a superb musical performance.
The sought-after lyric tenor Piotr Beczala, is the womanizing Duke in this new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto from the Metropolitan Opera. Željko Luèiæ sings the title role and Diana Damrau sings Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda. This DVD and Blu-ray release appears in the Verdi year 2013, as music lovers around the world celebrate the bicentenary of the birth of Italy’s beloved composer.
This extraordinarily powerful 1983 production may be the best-sung performance by Luciano Pavarotti on DVD, but when acting values are counted in, Ingvar Wixell manages to outshine the tenor star. Verdi gave the Duke two of Italian opera's most brilliant arias ("Questa o quella" and "La donna e mobile"), but he gave the deformed jester Rigoletto a depth and complexity of character that is reflected in music of great variety and enormous emotional impact: the cruel mockery of the opening scene, the self-doubts inspired by his dialogue with Sparafucile, the paternal anxieties and final despair at his daughter's sad fate, and the burning, self-destructive thirst for revenge.
Decca is proud to present this unique recording of Rigoletto. The only Rigoletto stage production on film featuring Luciano Pavarotti, this performance of one of Verdi's best-loved operas was discovered in the Metropolitan Opera Archives and is available here for the first time. Recorded in 1981, it presents Pavarotti at the peak of his career, supported by an outstanding cast that includes Louis Quilico in the title role, Christine Eda-Pierre as Gilda, Ara Berberian as Sparafucile, and Isola Jones as Maddalena, with Met Music Director James Levine on the podium.