62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
Gobbi Steals the Show,
By A Customer
This review is from: Verdi: Rigoletto (Audio CD)
It is, perhaps, unworthy of EMI to issue this under the "Callas Edition", as the star of this Opera is clearly the principle baritone, and the baritone here is no less than the great Tito Gobbi. Still, for some perverse reason, it is Callas that sells these days, and EMI seems determined to make the most out of one of their top selling artists. For the Callasites out there, her performance as Gilda should not disappoint. Callas is in much happier voice than can be found elswhere amongst her discography and she does give a thoughtful and attentive reading of the role- though many will feel that a younger sounding and fresher voice is really needed. As the libertine Duke, Guiseppe di Stefano is in his element. There may be more eloquent accounts of the role on record, but few have captured the spirit of the role so well. The real tour de force on this disc is the incomparable assumption of the title role by Tito Gobbi. I have heard many fine Rigolettos, but never one so memorable as Gobbi's. Here he sets a standard by which other interpretors must be measured, and ultimately fall short. Along with Iago and Scarpia, Gobbi's portrayal has yet to be bettered. The vengence, humanity and nobility he brings to the role is unique. The conducting is exemplary and the whole performance is electrifying. The sound fares less well by today's standards but is soon forgotten as the drama, in such masterly hands, begins to bite. Those who insist on modern recordings should abandon their principles and buy this set. This will not be bettered, and is a Gobbi performance to cherish.