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on 15 March 2017
My first version of Rigoletto was the Solti’s RCA with Moffo, Kraus and Merril, bought In the end of the 60’s (vinyl), soon followed by Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes (cassette, auf!), then Kleiber’s with Ileana Cotrubas, Domingo, Milnes. Then I stopped…, but recently I bought the Callas/Gobbi version, this one Kubelik because of the great Carlo Bergonzi and again the Pavarotti/Sutherland, this time in cd… I decided then to hear all them afresh. Leisurely, and put my impressions for the posterity!!!
Of course it will be rain in the wet (Portuguese aphorism) as countless of Amazon customers have already expressed their opinions, very similar usually, they (and myself) belong to the same tribe I think: west world, men, more than 60 years, retired, and ideological and political ideas excepted the same love of opera and collection of them. I guess there are more similarities, but let them aside.
To put it simply, for me the best is Pavarotti as the Duke, followed close by Kraus and Bergonzi, then Domingo and di Stefano. Moffo as Gilda, then Cotrubas, Callas, Sutherland and Scotto. Gobbi is Rigoletto!, then Merril and Milnes, Capucilli, Fischer-Dieskau.
For me Solti commands, then Serafin, Bonynge, Kubelik, Giulini. And the recording? Decca’s! All others pale.
All things considered, may be the less desirable is Giulini, but all of them have so many merits that they must be all considered top recommendations! And we must be glad and grateful for so many jewels, it was a real pleasure to me to hear with fresh mind to them all!
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on 17 August 2012
This is one of the best recordings of Rigoletto I've heard. Carlo Bergonzi as the Duke and Renata Scotto as Gilda are very effective. Both have lovely voices. Pride of place jointly must go to both Dietrich Fischer Dieskau as Rigoletto and Raphael Kubelik who conducts the Chorus and Orchestra of La Scala Milan. The entire opera sparkles with passion and verve. I have three other recordings of the opera with Carlo Giulini, Richard Bonynge and Edward Downes, this last is a DVD. However although all are good, this one is the most enjoyable musically.I rate it very highly.
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on 1 March 2009
Kubelik isn't normally thought of as particularly operatic, much less an oiutstanding exponent of Verdi. But in this 1964 recording everything comes together beautifully. The relatively young Fischer Dieskau and Scotto as father and daughter balance remarkably well the more experinced Bergonzi as the philandering Duke. And Kubelik really struts his stuff with those consummate musicians of Teatro alla Scala - what else could be expected from the orchestra and chorus of arguably the greatest opera house in the world?

I have only one moan with this particular release, the lack of a printed libretto. In earlier issues, Deutsche Grammophon provided ample information, but to save on space (and presumably cost) there is just a brief synopsis in this budget priced reincarnation of a classic recording. Even so, in terms of the quality of the performances and of the technical work by Germany's finest engineers outside Mercedes Benz, this 45 year old recording has rarely been equalled and, for me, never bettered.
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on 18 May 2011
This is one of my favourite recordings of Rigoletto. Fischer-Dieskau often gets bad press in opera but I think he's a wonderfully warm Rigoletto. He colours the role beautifully. His cast members in Bergonzi, Scotto and Cossotto make this a near-perfectly balanced cast. Kubelik pulls a sharp, brilliant sound from the La Scala orchestra. It's a set that's worth a few quid of anyone's money.
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on 11 June 2015
I must admit a greater admiration of Wagner, but there are several Verdi operas which do push my buttons and Rigoletto is one of them. I've owned this recording is various forms for forty years now and without belaboring the point, this is by a wide margin the best Rigoletto ever recorded. When it first appeared, it swept aside all competition and still continues to do so. Aside from outstanding singing, detailed and electrifying conducting, orchestral playing equal to the best... it's actually complete!! Even Possente amor, usually cut in recordings and performances from this period is present. ALSO, to many this may be a minor point, but to me, it assuredly is, NOT!! Fischer-Dieskau is one of the few (only two or three at last count) baritones I've heard (Wixell on the excellent DVD with Pavarotti and Gruberova is another.) who sing the final line as written...the curse motif which also ends the first act...not distorting it in order to interpolate that standard but cheap and amateurish high note. What makes this idiotic change tragic is that it ruins the psychological connection via the music (a la Wagner) to the original abduction. Poor Verdi...even when he actually succeeds brilliantly in injecting some much needed depth into his works, he's betrayed by those who claim to love him the most.
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on 1 May 2011
Got this to replace a cassette tape version I had of one of the great past recordings.
Not disappointed - what a delight to hear real singers!
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on 15 September 2016
Recently I sold a number of my opera CDs, and this was one of them. I regret selling off some of them, but not this one. I'm afraid I just didn't get on with this recording, it didn't stir any emotions in me, and the singers seemed to have no pathos. The duke didn't sound like a philanderer, Gilda didn't sound young and naive, Rigoletto didn't sound fragile and distraught at the end, until he suddenly realised this and immediately laid it on thick. Even Monterone sounded muted and unimpressive. Opera is a personal thing so while others may love this set, for me it just didn't gel.
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on 21 August 2013
Just as I hoped--a very good recording inspite of how long ago was this performance. It arrived in the time promised & as usual was carefully packaged.
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on 7 January 2017
Well conducted recording Superb, Singing and recording are first rate. I have enjoyed this immensely.
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