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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
16
4.7 out of 5 stars
Rigoletto  (Teatro della Pergola, Firenze 1960)
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£12.08+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 13 March 2017
tres bon enregistrement magnifique
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on 5 July 2013
This is a reissue of an excellent historic recording made by Ricordi in 1960. The experienced conductor and all Italian principal singers are at the peak of their powers. Ettore Bastianini (Rigoletto) is certainly one of the best Rigolettos I have listened to - at once cynical as a court jester and tender and caring as a father. Renata Scotto's voice as Gilda has the right timbre with a touch of innocence and sadness. Finally, Alfred Kraus (Duke) sings with a superb and full voice which never sounds vulgar that can easily happen in this role.

But, what distinguishes this recording is the conducting by Gavazzeni; it is excellent with very well-chosen tempi. Verdi's and Piave's drama unfolds naturally under his baton.

The original stereo recording was digitally rematered very well, although you need to raise the volume level a little. I already own an earlier CD version by Ricordi, issued by BMG. Its sound quality was rather indifferent, but the new remastering by Andromeda produced a lot of improvements.

Also, the discs have many more tracks compared with the Ricordi version which had only about a dozen tracks. Finally, there is no booklet with translations of the libretto, but it does not make any difference to me since I already have translations for other recordings.
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on 18 June 2013
This was a good buy. A nice selection of the most popular tracks, beautifully sung. Very good value for money.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 15 June 2016
I completely gave up on this splendid recording when it first appeared on CD on the BMG/RCA label, as they had totally botched the remastering; it was so muddy and distant that it was unlistenable. Fortunately it has now appeared on the Andromeda label in excellent 24 bit sound, with just some slight edge or distortion in the loudest passages but generally sounding really good for 1960.

Furthermore, owing to Amazon's absurd policy of randomly posting reviews under any old recording of "Rigoletto", I was at first prevented from placing this where it should be under the Andromeda issue and it might turn up anywhere. However, they have now delinked the review for the other famous recording by Serafin, enabling me to post this under the Andromeda label issue; thanks, Amazon - sometimes you do listen. I do not know what the Urania version sounds like but usually things of that provenance are wholly recommendable.

Now, to the recording itself. It has a stellar cast with quality in depth down to the chilling Sparafucile of black-voiced bass Ivo Vinco and the rich, vibrant Maddalena of his then wife Fiorenza Cossotto. Not everyone responds to the reedy sound of Alfredo Kraus's Duke but at thirty-two he was in sappiest, most youthful voice and plays the suave rake to perfection, despite some lack of ping in his top notes. Nevertheless, he hits a top D at the conclusion of the oft-omitted cabaletta "Possente amor" and is matched in winning youthfulness by a twenty-seven year old Renata Scotto, before her voice took on a shrill edge and a beat. She is just occasionally a little squally but often touchingly delicate and girlish, floating some lovely top C's, D flats and even a top D of her own; there are money notes a-plenty from both artists.

But of course the raison d'être here is the magnificent Rigoletto of Ettore Bastianini. Never an especially subtle artist he does not rival Gobbi for verbal nuance but instead produces a glorious stream of noble tone, throwing in top A's and providing a biting intensity which is wholly apt to portray the Jester's desperation.

I don't know of any performance from Gavazzeni, either live or studio, which is less than excellent; he strikes me as one of the most under-rated opera conductors of the 20C and he does everything right here as ever. Singers must have loved him as he never rushes them but always maintains tension and momentum.

This is a thrilling, wholly satisfying recording. It might not displace Serafin or Bonynge but deserves to sit alongside them.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 November 2008
I completely gave up on this splendid recording when it first appeared on CD on the BMG/RCA label, as they had totally botched the remastering; it was so muddy and distant that it was unlistenable. Fortunately it has now appeared on the Andromeda label in excellent 24 bit sound, with just some slight edge or distortion in the loudest passages but generally sounding really good for 1960.

Furthermore, owing to Amazon's absurd policy of randomly posting reviews under any old recording of "Rigoletto", I have been prevented from placing this where it should be under the Andromeda issue and it might turn up anywhere. I do not know what the Urania version sounds like but usually things of that provenance are wholly recommendable.

Now, to the recording itself. It has a stellar cast with quality in depth down to the chilling Sparafucile of black-voiced bass Ivo Vinco and the rich, vibrant Maddalena of his then wife Fiorenza Cossotto. Not everyone responds to the reedy sound of Alfredo Kraus's Duke but at thirty-two he was in sappiest, most youthful voice and plays the suave rake to perfection, despite some lack of ping in his top notes. Nevertheless, he hits a top D at the conclusion of the oft-omitted cabaletta "Possente amor" and is matched in winning youthfulness by a twenty-seven year old Renata Scotto, before her voice took on a shrill edge and a beat. She is just occasionally a little squally but often touchingly delicate and girlish, floating some lovely top C's, D flats and even a top D of her own; there are money notes a-plenty from both artists.

But of course the raison d'être here is the magnificent Rigoletto of Ettore Bastianini. Never an especially subtle artist he does not rival Gobbi for verbal nuance but instead produces a glorious stream of noble tone, throwing in top A's and providing a biting intensity which is wholly apt to portray the Jester's desperation.

I don't know of any performance from Gavazzeni, either live or studio, which is less than excellent; he strikes me as one of the most under-rated opera conductors of the 20C and he does everything right here as ever. Singers must have loved him as he never rushes them but always maintains tension and momentum.

This is a thrilling, wholly satisfying recording. It might not displace Serafin or Bonynge but deserves to sit alongside them.
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on 15 May 2016
All the above reviews are for the Pavarotti/Sutherland/Bonynge production, not this one. What is going on?
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on 13 December 2013
Not one I knew well, but decided to buy it after seeing the film Quartet. Really pleased I did as it is just so good and a lot of the arias I had heard before but not known from which opera.
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on 6 December 2013
I re-discovered Verdi's genius when I saw the movie "Quartet" and ordered this for all the highlights. It surpassed all my expectations. It is so beautiful sung by the best of voices. I love this addition to my classical CD collection.
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on 23 October 2015
You can't beat the combination of the young Luciano and La Stupenda herself.
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on 8 July 2014
Wonderful music but what else would you get from Verdi??
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