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Verdi: Rigoletto Box set
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MARRINER NEVILLE / WIENER P. O
Top Customer Reviews
Both Domingo and Cappuccilli are in the plus and minus camp - Domingo's tone is gorgeous. He starts well and with aplomb, but the Duke is a terribly difficult sing and he struggles in two important areas - "E il sol dell'anima" where the climb to B flats is uncomfortable, and, more importantly, the great quartet is marred by his struggle. The tessitura is just too high and sustained for him. It's an opera for Pavarotti, Bergonzi, and Kraus.
Cappuccilli puts great attention into his interpretation, he tries to relax his usual tendency to produce a "strained" sound in his voice (a habit I've always found perplexing to say the least). He's a Luna, a Macbeth or a Rodrigo, but I'm not convinced he's a Rigoletto.
Still, come on, I'm giving this four stars, but there are better recordings: DFD/Kubelik - Merrill/Solti - Milnes/Bonynge - Zancanaro/Muti - Bruson/Sinopoli. It's too beautiful an opera to settle for less.
Her command of the high notes is so complete that she can add small embellishments to some of the set-piece arias (Caro nome, tutte le feste for example) without ever sounding forced. The ease with which she performs these pieces allows the music to speak for itself and the emotion comes through naturally.
Bernd Weikl was unknown to me as a singer. I think he sings this role with a secure rich tone, with the required colour and emotion and without the histrionics that I can find off putting.
Then we also have Giacomo Aragall, who in my opinion has one of the most beautiful tenor voices ever (listen to his wonderful partnership of Joan Sutherland in Esclarmonde). Here he is perfectly suited for the lyrical Count.
Finally, we have a warm rounded voice in Klara Takacs' contralto Maddelena also managing to add some nice detail to her character and an evil sounding Sparafucile from Jan-Hendrik Rootering.
Lamberto Gardelli knits it all together, playing to his singers strengths and directing what is an extremely fine performance all round. Don't let snobbishness put you off from trying this set - all at a bargain price too !
My MusicWeb colleague Göran Forsling has provided a fine comparative survey of the four mono recordings from the 50’s and concluded that this EMI issue always had the best recorded sound, the quality of performance notwithstanding. However, this Pristine remastering into Ambient Stereo gives it even more of an sonic edge and the opportunity to appreciate afresh just how good the singers here are; its warmth and depth confer renewed presence and immediacy on proceedings, while minor irritations and blemishes have been minimalised by Andrew Rose.
Fortunately they are accompanied by a conductor, chorus and orchestra entirely immersed in the Verdian idiom, providing ideal support. Serafin does nothing eccentric or flashy but simply knows how this music should go and does it, giving his singers plenty of time to make their points without undue self-consciousness.
Little more can be said about the principals which has not already been observed in the sixty or so years since its issue after the miraculously busy recording year of 1955. For some Di Stefano for all his élan, is a touch crude and shouty and the too open vowels presage troubles to come, but his is a highly energised, winning assumption with many splendid moments. Gobbi’s voice might have been a little lean in tone for the ideal Verdi baritone but his range of colour and expression is miraculous; no singer since has so completely embodied this most complex of characters.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I see that there are other positive reviews of this remarkable recording in its originals reincarnation on this site but this is the cd version I own and much as I value the... Read morePublished on 15 Feb. 2014 by Bill Glen
The conducting and casting is no good. When compared to other recordings, such as Solti's with Merrill as Rigoletto, this is simply no good. Read morePublished on 1 Feb. 2014 by Arnar
Hard to review without hearing it. Have been promised a replacement as the first cd seems to have gone missing, but the second one seems to have followed suit. Read morePublished on 13 Jun. 2013 by Eila T Kumela