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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful performance in fabulous HD quality. Go on - spoil yourself!
Arthaus Music has produced exceptional performances of opera but this version of Rigoletto is surely the best of all. This has become my most watched opera. I cannot imagine that I will ever again see such a fabulous performance. Leo Nucci is the most perfect Rigoletto and he is matched in performance by Elena Mosuc's Gilda. Witness the breathtakingly beautiful duet at...
Published on 21 Aug 2010 by Nigel Mc

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a reliable but rather sanitised version of an opera which can be far more 'gritty' in its impact
This review is of the specially priced issue of a previously issued full-priced disc. It comes with a great number of bonus samplers of other Arthaus releases so, in effect, this disc also acts as an Arthaus advertisement. It is important to be sure to buy the much cheaper version rather than the full-priced issue, which is still available, as the Rigoletto part on both...
Published 21 months ago by I. Giles


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a reliable but rather sanitised version of an opera which can be far more 'gritty' in its impact, 1 Oct 2012
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Zurich Opera 2006) (Leo Nucci/ Elena Mouc/ Piotr Beczala/ László Polgár/ Gilbert Deflo/ Nello Santi) (Arthaus: 108057) [Blu-ray] [2012] (Blu-ray)
This review is of the specially priced issue of a previously issued full-priced disc. It comes with a great number of bonus samplers of other Arthaus releases so, in effect, this disc also acts as an Arthaus advertisement. It is important to be sure to buy the much cheaper version rather than the full-priced issue, which is still available, as the Rigoletto part on both discs is identical.

The performance is very secure with good solo singing by the experienced Leo Nucci as Rigoletto, Piotr Beczala as the duke plus two attractive female leads in Elena Mosuc as Gilda and Katharina Peetz as Maddalena. Laszio Polgar is a suitably dark Sparafucile. The other solo parts are also reliable as is the chorus.

The staging and production could be described as traditional and verging on the effective minimalist. The camera work is very clear and of good colour definition. The sound is presented in DTS 7.1 and stereo and is also very clear. The orchestra plays well under the firm guidance of Nello Santi.

For many this has proved to be close to the ideal performance, production and recording. There are others who disagree and have suggested that this is rather a routine performance with poor acting, only passable singing and generally dull. The full range of reactions is fully documented by many reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic.

I personally feel that this is better than just routine but, for me, it is all just a bit too clean - some might describe it as lacking in the necessary nastiness. This is not a nice story. The duke is amoral and presides over a dissolute court. Abduction and rape is commonplace (see Gilda's treatment) as is 'legalised' murder (see Monterone's fate) and contract killing (see Rigoletto/Sparafucile). Rigoletto himself takes previously full advantage of his 'privileged' position to taunt any who is not secure, even to the extent where the duke tells him he has over-stepped even his boundaries. Gilda herself chooses to sacrifice herself for a very doubtful cause which fails as we hear the duke blissfully singing unaware at the end.

Can such a scenario be found on the stage and on disc? The answer is 'Yes' and the recording is the McVicar concept at the Royal Opera. That too, is well recorded and is well sung and acted. I would hesitate to call it a traditional setting though as it is so corrupt but it is certainly of the correct period and oozes wickedness and venom. However, for me, the problem is the fast vibrato of Paulo Gavanelli who sings the title role of Rigoletto. His acting is fine but I do find the voice vibrato rather nasal or 'bleaty' at times and this is a problem for me. However, I should stress that this is my own personal response although it has been worthy of some comment from some reviewers. Some also have found the production rather too vivid for easy viewing. The opening court scene may be a bit strong for some tastes for example.

So there you have the sort of choice that is currently available. I would suggest that at its reduced price this offers a clean version of the opera in traditional staging but, for some tastes, it may be just a little tame. If that is the case, then there is McVicar who provides an altogether earthier version and which does not pull any punches, but don't expect an easy night's entertainment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worthwhile production, good value, 15 Oct 2012
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Zurich Opera 2006) (Leo Nucci/ Elena Mouc/ Piotr Beczala/ László Polgár/ Gilbert Deflo/ Nello Santi) (Arthaus: 108057) [Blu-ray] [2012] (Blu-ray)
Judged on its own merits, this 2006 production of Rigoletto from the Zurich Opera House is a good traditional production, more than competently played and sung, even if it doesn't have any great qualities to distinguish it from countless other productions. Packaged here however as a budget-priced promotional release, including a full-length opera alongside 45 trailers from the Arthaus Blu-ray catalogue, this is a good value option that serves as an introduction to just how good opera can look and sound in the format, as well as providing samples of other catalogue titles. As one of the most impressive works in the repertoire, Verdi's Rigoletto is also a fine accessible opera that sits well alongside the previous Arthaus catalogue samplers - La Traviata and Tosca - all good solid productions of works with proven dramatic and musical qualities and plenty of familiar melodies.

Gilbert Deflo's staging is traditional then but it looks good, keeping things simple but effective in how they relate to the drama. The opening scene, for example, captures a sense of the decadence of the Duke of Mantua's orgies at his palace, with extravagant period costumes and the hunchbacked Rigoletto appropriately devilish in a bright red jester's outfit, taunting the Count of Monterone, whose daughter is being seduced by the Duke. There's a similar sense of working effectively with the mood and situation in the subsequent scenes, in the blue-lit night-time alley where Rigoletto encounters Sparafucile, the assassin-for-hire, and the contrasting sense of comfort in the home surroundings where Rigoletto can be himself with his daughter Gilda. There's no cleverness attempted in the balcony abduction of Gilda, nor in the stormy night setting at the inn in Act III, the sets designed to look good and not unduly trouble the performers as they move through the mechanics of the plot.

It's all nice and tastefully done, with no modern cleverness to frighten the traditionalists, and the same can be said about the singing performances and the playing. It all feels a little too restrained however, lacking dramatic fire and urgency. There's a pleasant transparent openness to the orchestration under Nello Santi which captures the lyrical beauty of Verdi's score, but there little of the passion and the urgency that you ought to find in it and in the performances. Piotr Beczala is probably the best here as the Duke, singing well with a distinctive and robust tenor voice, but Elena Moşuc is also fine as Gilda. She's a little unsteady in the Act I 'Gualtier Malde' aria and doesn't always bring a great deal of acting fire to the role, but she comes through strongly where it counts in the Act II duets, in the fabulous Act III quartet and her sacrificial scene. Leo Nucci isn't the strongest Verdi baritone and lacks the necessary personality to really bring out the conflict of fatherly emotions that lie behind the jester's mask, but it's by no means a bad performance, just one that fits in with the overall uninventive tone of the production.

All in all however, if it lacks any real edge and passion, this is nonetheless a solidly performed and dramatically effective production of a terrific opera that will serve, as it is intended here, as a reasonably good introduction to opera on Blu-ray for anyone - perhaps inspired by the Verdi bicentenary - who might be curious about sampling its qualities. This performance looks good and sounds good in High Definition (with a PCM stereo and a DTS HD-Master Audio 7.1 mix), although the live sound recording is a little echoing and the lower-frequency sounds are a little booming. Subtitles are in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish and Korean. This particular edition of Rigoletto also includes 130 minutes worth of trailers from 45 opera, ballet and documentaries available on Blu-ray from Arthaus Musik, which can be very useful in determining the nature of the production and the singing and whether it might appeal to you or not. There are better productions of Rigoletto available elsewhere (and personally, I'd like to see a BD release for the fine 2010 Rigoletto with Plácido Domingo filmed live in the actual locations in Mantua), but costing around Ł8, you can't really go wrong with this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for the price I paid, 25 Sep 2012
By 
Satish Kamath (India) - See all my reviews
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WARNING AND NOTICE : Before you shell out 28 quid for this, please see the link I am reproducing below
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B008O2T3O0/ref=cm_cr_mts_prod_img

The page is different and but the disc, producers and seller are all the same, with 45 trailers incorporated in addition to the Opera... at a much lower price. If this information is not useful enough, read on:

Tell you what... I paid GBP -8.00 odd for this, and for that price, this is a steal. Arthouse has artfully incorporated a huge selection (45 Nos) of trailers in this in addition to the full opera. This was a masterstroke for both Arthouse as well as me, since I have ordered for 3 other discs watching their trailers.

Coming to the performance,

1. It is a 'routine' performance of Rigoletto if I may call it so. Nothing extra brilliant, but at the same time, quite very acceptable in terms of singing, sets as well as the video.

2. I found the sound engineering or post production audio lacking with very imbalanced sound, - the orchestra sometimes not in sync with the singers (I dont know how that could happen), and overpowering the them at times. Nello Santi is a very good conductor, and I somehow think this is something to do with the audio reproduction rather than his conducting.

3. The singing, although top-class, especially those of Gilda (Mosuc) Sparafucile (Polgar) and Rigoletto (Nucci), the whole lacks the passion of many earlier DVD releases of this work. According to me, Baczala, even in spite of his big reputation today and decent singing, does NOT make a great Duke... His voice requires a little more authority for this role. I am sure he is capable, but somehow has not brought it off.

4. What makes the whole attractive, especially this being a blu ray disc is the camera-work and the beautiful settings - economically designed but change well from scene to scene. Very sensible 'minimalism' of sorts.... Changing only the facades and the furniture, they have achieved a lot, even if it means that the Il Duca di Mantova's mansion seems slightly spartan...

Verdict: - I did not buy it when it was priced at GBP 28.00 not worth it for that price, but for GBP 8.00 if it is still available, GRAB IT...
For that price, it is worth it for both the performance and the trailers...
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathtakingly beautiful performance in fabulous HD quality. Go on - spoil yourself!, 21 Aug 2010
By 
Nigel Mc (The Chilterns) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Arthaus Music has produced exceptional performances of opera but this version of Rigoletto is surely the best of all. This has become my most watched opera. I cannot imagine that I will ever again see such a fabulous performance. Leo Nucci is the most perfect Rigoletto and he is matched in performance by Elena Mosuc's Gilda. Witness the breathtakingly beautiful duet at the end of Act ll - `si vendetta tremenda vendetta'. Their emotion charged singing captivated the audience and the artists acknowledged the applause by taking a curtain call at the end of the act. Maestro Nello Santi directs the Zurich Opera House Orchestra with considerable skill and the whole performance is a joy and delight to everyone.

The strong performance of all the artists is equally matched by the skill of the production team. Audio and visual quality is top notch and this disc is far and away demonstration quality for anyone who needs to be convinced of the true excellence of the quality of Blu-ray recordings. The fabulous colours of the costumes are a sight to behold and the disc captures perfectly the deep reds and black and blue colours of the night scenes. The video is pin sharp and gives the viewer incredible detail. HD cameras are used throughout the performance and the cinematography is exceptional. The disc has an excellent menu system, a feature which cannot always be taken for granted with Blu-ray discs.

I cannot recommend this disc enough! I accept that it is priced slightly higher than other such discs in this catalogue but I can assure everyone that it is money well spent. I challenge anyone to find another performance that comes anywhere near as good as this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good for the price paid, 25 Sep 2012
By 
Satish Kamath (India) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Zurich Opera 2006) (Leo Nucci/ Elena Mouc/ Piotr Beczala/ László Polgár/ Gilbert Deflo/ Nello Santi) (Arthaus: 108057) [Blu-ray] [2012] (Blu-ray)
This same disc is available for GBP 28.00 STILL. Most of the reviews are posted there. Some have raved about this and others have ranted.

Tell you what... I paid GBP 8.00 odd for this, and for that price, this is a steal. Arthouse has artfully incorporated a huge selection of trailers in this in addition to the full opera. This was a masterstroke for both Arthouse as well as me, since I have ordered for 3 other discs watching their trailers.

Coming to the performance,

1. It is a 'routine' performance of Rigoletto if I may call it so. Nothing brilliant, but at the same time, quite very acceptable in terms of singing, sets as well as the video.

2. I found the sound engineers lacking with very imbalanced sound, with the orchestra sometimes not in sync with the singers (I dont know how that could happen), and overpowering the singers at times. Nello Santi is a good conductor, and I somehow think this is something to do with the recording rather than his conducting.

3. The singing, although top-class, especially those of Gilda (Mosuc) Sparafucile (Polgar) and Rigoletto (Nucci), the whole lacks the passion of many earlier DVD releases of this work. According to me, Baczala, even in spite of his big reputation today and decent singing, does NOT make a great Duke... His voice requires a little more authority in the role. I am sure he is capable, but somehow has not brought it off.

4. What makes the whole attractive, especially this being a blu ray disc is the camera-work and the beautiful settings - economically designed but change well from scene to scene. Very sensible 'minimalism' of sorts.... Changing only the facades and the furniture, they have achieved a lot, even if it means that the Il Duca di Mantova's mansion seems slightly spartan...

Verdict: - I did not buy it when it was priced at GBP 28.00 not worth it for that price, but for GBP 8.00 if it is still available, GRAB IT... Its worth it for both the performance and the trailers...
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 14 Jan 2011
By 
A. Pettigrew (Cornwall) - See all my reviews
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I bought this version of Rigoletto on the basis of two rave reviews. Perhaps I am not living on the same planet. This is a Rigoletto which underwhelms. Leo Nucci is a fine baritone, but he has two weaknesses; one is tolerable, the other is not. Firstly he is one of those singers who produces quite unpleasant facial contortions when singing - I could put up with that, but, alas, he is not an actor of sufficient stature to get inside the character of the deeply disturbed hunchback. He is not the only performer who could do with acting lessons, most of the cast are pretty wooden. Only Laszlo Polgar seems able to bring some three-dimensionality to his slyly urbane, smartly dressed Sparafucile. The playing from the pit is adequate but hardly inspired; the direction is stilted (not helped by two-dimensional sets) and the whole affair never really gets off the ground. Watching this Rigoletto to the end took some dedication on my part and I doubt that I shall be in a hurry to repeat the experience. There are far better Rigolettos out there (David McVicar's dystopic staging for ROH Covent Garden for example), so until these become available on Blu Ray save your money, or simply enjoy them in SD - it will be a better experience than this.
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10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 19 July 2009
By 
Manapapa (Tokyo, Japan) - See all my reviews
Nucci, Mosuc and Bezcala's performance were great! Especially I found Nucci is not only an excellent singer but also, maybe one of the greatest artist in this 20 -30 years opera world. Requisite for Verdi and Rigoletto lovers.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rigoletto, 21 Mar 2013
By 
Mrs. S. J. Mockridge (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Zurich Opera 2006) (Leo Nucci/ Elena Mouc/ Piotr Beczala/ László Polgár/ Gilbert Deflo/ Nello Santi) (Arthaus: 108057) [Blu-ray] [2012] (Blu-ray)
Being new to opera, I didn't know if I would like this, but it was very good and had me enthralled.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Lady Loves Verdi!, 22 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Zurich Opera 2006) (Leo Nucci/ Elena Mouc/ Piotr Beczala/ László Polgár/ Gilbert Deflo/ Nello Santi) (Arthaus: 108057) [Blu-ray] [2012] (Blu-ray)
Good quality sound & vision from my Blu Ray DVD player/42" LG 3D TV combination creates entertainment as if you were in the theatre itself. What more can I say!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars May not be surpased for some time!, 24 Dec 2012
By 
Mr. John Parker (Stafford , England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Zurich Opera 2006) (Leo Nucci/ Elena Mouc/ Piotr Beczala/ László Polgár/ Gilbert Deflo/ Nello Santi) (Arthaus: 108057) [Blu-ray] [2012] (Blu-ray)
Is it perfect? Of course not! But it really is very good.The sound (in the DTS format) is superb,as is the video direction and picture quality. An excellent advocate for the Blu-ray format!
The singing is more than acceptable.Nucci sings the main role with conviction and with excellent characterisation.Rigoletto doesn't have a lot to smile about! Some comments question his acting style, but I think it is appropriate for a live performance
- remember he has to act as far as the back row ,but the camera catches his expressions from about 6 feet! All of the other soloists perform well, even if they don't always look very "Italian"
The conducting is acceptable and the orchestra a typical pit band - OK, but not Karajan with the BPO/VPO.The staging is, IMHO, all the better for being traditional and Verdi would approve of the sets for their fidelity to the story line and the general attention to detail.This is a very serviceable production AND at the Amazon price somewhat of a bargain.If you like Rigoletto you will watch this time and again. Just buy it!
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