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
Verdi, child of the people, king of popular opera, began life as the son of an innkeeper. He was brought up in modest circumstances. He first received lessons from the village priest, who was amazed by the young musician’s talents. Verdi’s musical education was rounded and complete: at the age of sixteen, the composer wrote fugues, masses and symphonies, which he would later destroy. As he met with reticence in Milan, he settled in Busseto where he fell victim to the pettiness of the town. However, his strong willpower enabled him to pursue his musical path without paying heed to what people said…
This is a superb performance of Rigoletto made at the Arena di Verona. TDK has issued some excellent opera DVDs recently, featuring Eurpean performances, where opera is taken seriously. The digital video and the DTS sound option make the performance very realistic on a big screen TV. Although this is an outdoor performance, on the screen it comes across very well, and there is no sonic compromise, either…By John G. Gleeson Sr.
Opera never has shown its contrasts more than in this Rigoletto from the Sächsische Staatskapelle in Dresden. The production is full of harsh conflicts, which Verdi himself implies by filling this tragedy with so much cheery music. All of the performances here are outstanding. Željko Lučić vanquishes the title role with his powerful voice and emotive acting, which makes him riveting if slightly painful to watch as he is emotionally destroyed.::–Rob McGinness, ClassicsToday.com