Verdi: Rigoletto [DVD]
Get £1 Off Amazon Video*
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Feature running time: 169 mins approx
Subtitles: GB, F, D, and NL, SP
If there are doubts still lingering about the Royal Opera House's artistic renaissance after its mid-1990s doldrum years, David McVicar's gritty and sexy production of Rigoletto should blow them all away. One of the principal reasons is McVicar's decision to emphasise the tyrannical nature of the Duke (beautifully sung by Marcelo Alvarez), and the appalling social injustice that springs from a corrupt leader: his court is a place of physical and sexual abuse (graphically, but by no means gratuitously, depicted). This violence throws the dual nature of Rigoletto into relief, making his toadyism seem all the worse and his vengefulness all the more sympathetic.
The singing and acting are first rate, with Paolo Gavanelli's energetic, insect-like Rigoletto worthy even to stand against Anthony Sher's Richard III. Christine Schafer has a gorgeous voice, an intelligent sense of phrasing, and plays Gilda as a frail, morbid creature whose ultimate self-sacrifice is as much an act of neurotic despair as of love. The production is also a visual and orchestral success. Michael Vale's set is a masterpiece of economy--both the Duke's palace and Rigoletto's home are surrounded by broken objects, wire fencing and gloomy shadows--and Edward Downes draws some stunning playing from the Royal Opera Orchestra. This is undoubtedly the best Rigoletto committed to DVD thus far.
On the DVD Rigoletto comes with an entertaining 17-minute BBC biography of the composer, "Verdi Through the Looking Glass", presented by conductor Charles Hazlewood, as well as an illustrated synopsis of the opera, and a revealing 10-minute interview with the director. There are subtitles in English, French, German, Dutch and Spanish.--Warwick ThomsonSee all Product Description
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Top Customer Reviews
Christine Schaefer is perfect as Gilda,
Paolo Gavanelli is a great actor and a wonderful singer in one of the best Rigoletto performances I've seen.
Both the sound and visual are of very good quality making the purchase of this DVD a good bargain.
The opening staging may be controversial, with bare breasts and brief nudity, but it is justified in emphasizing the dissolute and depraved atmosphere of the court that can allow the ruin of a courtier's daughter and the kidnapping of Rigoletto's supposed mistress. It is a dark and unpleasant land where at night one can be approached by an assassin offering to kill the person of your choice for 20 scudos. The staging underscores the story-line and the lyrics with dark, run-down sets.
The sound quality was outstanding. I played digital 5.1 through my amplifier and thought the quality of sound the equal of any CD.
This is the best staging of an opera I have ever seen and I doubt anyone will be disappointed.
On the other hand I would concede that it really does depend on the opera: if the particular location is of real significance, if the location is supposedly set 'outside of space and time', then it is pretty important to stick to the orignal script, so to speak. An opera based on a particularly significant historical event or period that tries to update for a modern audience by dressing up the characters as, for example nazis, is both patronizing to the audience in its assumption that they will have no understanding of the historical period originally conveyed by the opera, and it also serves to make a nonsense of the script (libretto) for the most part. A Wagner opera, on the other hand, that turns the Gods into mafiosi gangsters breaks our ability to suspend disbelief by placing our thoughts back into the real world.
So, the point? you ask, well this Rigoletto production quite cuts with tradition and this has been cited as a fault by some. It is, however, an opera based on a less than successful play by Victor Hugo - Le Roi s'amuse. The play was cut after less than two full showings due to its unpopularity and it was only Verdi and Piave that resurrected widespread interest in the themes in the play. The opera was originally set in Paris as a means of portraying the hypocritical and malignant rule of the French leaders in power at the time but this was censored and ultimately modified via placing the characters in an effective fictional world - the state of Mantua.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I saw this on TV. I love this opera, my top Verdi, but I am g;ad I did not pay opera house prices to see it. David McVicar seems to court controversy. Read morePublished 23 months ago by David Erskine
When I first inserted the disc into my player it came up with the message "non-compatable disc". It turned out to be an NTSC recording, not PAL. Read morePublished on 24 May 2014 by Shad
This is a favourite opera of mine so I was more than happy to have this wonderful recording.
The packaging was superb.