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Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
27
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 10 May 2017
this has become part of my collection of first-class productions . an astounding production with the very best performers. will never be surpassed.
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on 5 August 2003
I usually do not care for "movie" versions of opera, preferring a filmed live performance, but this one is most enjoyable, and has some standout performances.
Released in 1983, it was made on location in Mantua, with good cinematography in a pallete of browns and dark greys.
Pavarotti is the Duke of Mantua, looking strong and robust, but I must confess I thought his performance very one-dimensional, continually loud, and as an actor is much the weakest in the cast.
Edita Gruberova's Gilda is extremely interesting; she gets stronger in each scene, and I found her performance to be quite touching and wonderful. Her "Caro Nome" is one that I truly loved, full of sweetness and vulnerability, and delicate trills.
Ingvar Wixell's Rigoletto is superb, brilliantly portraying the many sides of the hunchbacked jester, from maliciously plotting revenge, to tenderly loving his daughter and the memory of his wife. His voice is rich and full, and he makes the most of Verdi's gorgeous score.
Victoria Vergara is a stunning and seductive Maddalena, and Ferruccio Fulanetto's Sparafucile is a creepy villain with very scary jagged teeth, and both are in fine vocal form.
Riccardo Chailly conducts the Vienna Choir and Philharmonic with great pacing, and this is a Rigoletto well worth watching, even for those who like me, are not "movie" opera fans.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 October 2014
This opera has all you could wish for over the two hour piece.
It has an intriguing (though utterly cruel) story line, lovely costumes and sets, some really great warbling, wonderful characters; it's very humorous in places and the acting is also of a very high standard all round. Don't miss Giovanna - Gilda's nurse maid, who's just brilliant in her small but hilarious cameo.
The sound & picture quality are just fab'. As previously mentioned the DVD does not do full screen, but I hardly noticed that as I was so glued to the action and the gorgeous warbling!
Pavarotti plays the lecherous Duke of Mantua who's only aim in life seems to be to charm his way into the local women's beds! As an actor, I must say that I disagree with some on here? I thought he did rather well!
Edita Gruberova, plays the love sick Gilda, daughter of Rigoletto. Her singing is quite something, especially in tandem with others when it's like a choir of Nightingales chortling away! However, the star of the show without doubt is Ingvar Wixells's Rigoletto. Great acting and singing - utterly convincing in every which way, and who wouldn't feel so very gutted for him at the end?
It is so easy to see why this opera is rated as one of the very best. It was wholly enjoyable from start to finish - five stars all the way.
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on 27 March 2002
I saw this production years ago, and it was so good, it has always been in my mind.
I was so delighted when I saw that it was available on DVD and snapped it up immediatley.
Rigoletto is certainly one of the best operas ever written, and this production shines, with all the top stars, Pavarotti, Gruberova and a superb Rigoletto (and Monterone) Wixell.
Superb singing and visuals make this an absolute must amongst opera lovers, and especially those who are curious about opera, have a look, this is what its all about!
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on 26 January 2015
I am not into nit picking unless there is a good reason to do so and there is not in this case. It is a fabulous film of an opera.

It is simply marvellous. Nobody could complain about the well lit wonderful local filming locations in Mantua itself. The last Act is a visual treat - so much better than a film of a theatrical production at say the ROH - dark and dingy, and frankly dead boring.

Wixell is a convincing and eloquent brusque and bluff Rigoletto his appearance as Monterone as well is a great theatrical touch that could only be pulled off on film. Gruberova has not the strength of voice as say Scotto or the sheer coloratura flexibility of Sutherland, but is convincing visually and vocally. In fact in profile in the duets Wixell and Gruberova share some degree of likeness and one could well take them for father and daughter: a nice pairing for the purposes of this film. The same could be said for Pavarotti as the Duke and Vergara as Maddalena where the sexual chemistry is in full flow. The quartet, Act III, with these great pairs make a memorable scene in both visual and musical terms.

Given that Wixell and Gruberova tick the box what of the third main character the infamous Duke of Mantua? Well Pavarotti to my ears is the best out there. Plenty of the famous squillo, top notes sustained with ease and beauty, plenty of the great mezza voce which is so important in order to sing this role perfectly. Bergonzi may actually sing the role better on the DG album, but it is an edited untheatrical portrayal that sounds wooden and artificial. Almost as if Bergonzi was singing concert arias. Here, Pavarotti IS the Duke! As he beams into the camera, "Welcome to my world!" - what a rascal! While I still retain an admiration for Renato Cioni's interpretation on the Decca audio recording, in lugubrious voice - he is vocally more ardent - Pavarotti is in a different class.

Furlanetto supplies the requisite grottiness and low life scum element while Barbieri as the less than loyal Giovanna offers another seedy characterisation from the political and sexual hot house that was the Duchy of Mantua.

Very up-to-date, a great performance, well played and well directed. I cannot recommend this DVD too highly. It is simply magnificent. Get it!

Take me to Mantua! And for lovers of great rail journeys out there why not hop on to the brand new Paris-Venice service operated by "Thello" and spend a week exploring Mantua and Ferrara and the Veneto. You can go by sumptuous brand new overnight sleeper in cabins for two or four or even three. Or there is the day service. All at very reasonable prices. Travel green as well - you are not dumping clouds of poison gas on the people below from a budget airliner. And safer!

See you there!
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on 16 September 2001
I consider this DVD to be one of the best in my collection. This is a must have for anyone who likes opera shot on location. Making use of the visual splendour of the locations where the story actually takes place, shows the full potential of the medium DVD. That is why I also like the Bizet's Carmen version with Placido Domingo and Julia Migenes-Johnson, which has been shot in the beautiful scenery of Spain. This Rigoletto is also excellent in every other respect. The superb singing and acting (especially the acting of Ingvar Wixell as Rigoletto) do really make Verdi's drama come to live. The many famous melodies do the rest. Unless you really prefer the limitations of a theater performance, you will not be disappointed.
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on 2 December 2010
This is a brilliant production of one of Verdis greatest operas. Pavorotti is at his best and Gruberova whilst lacking a little in the beauty needed to excite one as Rigolettos' daughter makes up for it with her voice and Rigoletto himself was absolutely stunning in both his singing and acting.
I loved the film version with its variety of sets, giving much greater scope to the producer.
Sound quality excellent.
David Stevenson
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on 6 October 2013
This is a filmed version of Verdi’s Rigoletto. The staging of Jean-Pierre Ponnelle is excellent. Highly imaginative, accurate to Verdi’s story and filmed in the actual palace and river where the story is supposed to take place. This is a very atmospheric version of the opera, beyond of what can normally be presented in a theatre. The blu-ray image is crisp and the sound very good.

This must be Pavarotti’s best performance on record, both visually and vocally. There simply is nobody else to come even close to him on the role of the duke. Wixell sings a convincing Rigoletto, but nothing to write home about. Gruberova is simply dull.

Riccardo Chailly is not my favourite conductor, but the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra plays as usual superbly. This is an excellent version of Rigoletto, highly recommended.

The far more recent (2001) version from the Arenna di Verona with Leo Nucci as Rigoletto, is better sung and better acted than all the corresponding counterparts on this disc, with the big exception of the duke. As I said nobody can touch Pavarotti on this role!
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on 9 April 2001
This production is excellent for fans who do not mind the performances set on location, but disappointing for those like myself who prefer the drama of the theatre. Some of the outside scenes are, however, visually eye-catching, paricularly in the last scene of the final act. Gruberova is superb as always.
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on 21 September 2013
I would never believe that I would get to say that Pavarotti spoiled an opera. I thought that his acting was a little stiff. This let down the rest of the cast who all performed well, especially Gruberova as Gilda. The filming of the performance must, of necessity, take place over a greater time period than a "one off" performance and gives the opportunity to visit real locations rather than having wooden (or whatever) stage scenery. I think this can only add to the realism of any Opera.
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