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Tutto Verdi: Rigoletto (Teatro Regio di Parma) [Blu-ray]
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Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma
Chorus Master - Martino Facciani
Il Duca di Mantova - Francesco Demuro
Rigoletto - Leo Nucci
Gilda - Nino Machaidze
Sparafucile - Marco Spotti
Maddalena - Stefanie Iranyi
Giovanna - Katarina Nikolic
Il Conte di Monterone - Roberto Tagliavini
Marullo - Orazio Mori
Matteo Borsa - Mauro Buffoli
Il Conte die Ceprano - Ezio Maria Tisi
La Contessa di Ceprano - Scilla Cristiano
So will Verdi gespielt werden. (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung)
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Based on this DVD of Rigoletto, I believe that the "Tutto Verdi" opera series will prove to be a magnificent tribute to the great Verdi. The production is at once powerful and beautiful. Leo Nucci's performance as Rigoletto is astounding. The rest of the cast, as well as the orchestra, are excellent. I look forward to experiencing more of the Tutto Verdi series in the future. I give this DVD five stars.
So much of what passes these days as "new" opera and "modern' approach is nothing but trash. No I don't want to see Romeo & Juliet in the back alley of a butcher shop in Brooklyn. Nor do I want to see Rigoletto done in a Las Vegas gambling parlor. Give some credit to the composer and the poet and what they had in mind. Part of the magic of opera to me is that the work takes you out of reality to a time and place where a tale unfolds with the music bringing all the diverse elements of story and stage to one satifying all encompasing experience. This presentation fulfils that definition.
Rigoletto was about Verdi's fifteenth opera. Before he had been one among several talented Italian composers vying for the publics attention. After Rigoletto (the miracle of Rigoletto!) he would be the best and ever after. He had some dozen or more operatic masterpieces yet to come.
The stage setting and costumes by Pierluigi Samaritani are just right for suggesting the time and place of the drama. This was from an older production and was revised for the present presentation by Alessandro Cimmarughi. The cast here is ideal for bringing the drama to fruition. First and foremost is the Rigoletto of Leo Nucci. He is a consumate artist now in his 70s but still commanding a pliant effective voice combined with his superior acting skills to be a truly great Rigoletto. He is still recording several productions in the C Major Verdi series and the ones I've heard are all excellent.
The Duke as done by Fracesco Demuro is a wonder. He is gifted with a strong secure lyric tenor, a handsome face and facile body so that it is totally believable that the ladies would fall all over him and that one would die in his stead. With the new upclose camera in this age of DVD the days of the 300 lb. tub waddling out to bark his aria and then waddling off are gone; this goes for the park and bark fat ladies also. As one other reviwer noted, my first Rigoletto recording was Jussi Bjorling (greatest Italian tenor of the day though born in Sweden), Robert Merrill and Roberta Peters. I can still hear her "Caro nome che il mio cor" aria. I also wore out that set. In my youth I went to the Met on tour in Detroit and Cleveland and then forty years at Chicago's Lyric Opera so I've heard a lot of Rigoletos. (The best in the past was probably Leonard Warren).
In this production the Gilda is the very good coloratura soprano Nino Machaidze. She is charming and a good actress and has great conrol over her beautiful voice and her singing.
Not often noted but unforgetable in this production is Sparafucile as done by Marco Spotti. Who can forget that smile on his face when he describes his cutthroat business? The only weak voice in the main cast was the Maddalena of Stefanie Iranyi.
All in all, a wonderful production with a wonderful cast. The best now available.
This performance is a tour de force from curtain up to the final curtain down; it is literally a nonstop roller coaster ride with brilliant performances from every singer, the chorus and the orchestra combined with a technically flawless DVD.
Recorded in the fall of 2008, just months after her huge success as Juliet in Salzburg, Nino Machaidze provides a Gilda that is stunning in execution. Much has been made of claimed lack of coluratura skills in the seemingly endless "this soprano vs. that soprano" debates, but, gentle reader, if there is anything missing in this interpretation, I don't know what it is. Musically and dramatically, despite hearing many Gilda over the years, I cannot recall hearing and seeing a better one.
Leo Nucci continues to amaze. Born in 1942 (!), his work in the C Major Tutto Verdi series is consistantly of a high level. Here he is absolutely spot on from start to finish: his is a rich and solid instrument, generous with the upper voice, with no sign of dryness or wobble. He totally deserved the outpouring of applause from the audience in Parma, which I have noted previously, is a really tough venue. "Pari siamo" brings down the house; "Corteggiani, vil razza" brings down the house and the vengeance duet brings down the house for a well deserved encore. Mama mia!! gentle reader, now THIS is what operatic excellence is all about!
Francesco Demuro is a tenor I had not hear before, but while Bjoerling remains my favorite Duke, Demuro's is another first rate performance. His is a lyric tenor, light and bright, but when dramtics are called for he does not disappoint. In fact, optional (unwritten by Verdi) high notes are perfectly and thrillingly executed at the end of "Possente amor" and "La donna e mobile". Yet the bottom is secure and audible. I'd like to hear more from Demuro.
"But wait!! There's more!!"
Bass Marco Spotti is spot on as Sparafucile: vocally he's quite good but his acting puts the meat on the carcass for this small role. Stefanie Iranyi makes us all understand why the Duke is chasing her around the house (I would rhapsodize on her legs, but do not wish to offend any ladies who read this). The chorus acts and interacts! I have noted in other C Major Tutto Verdi reviews that the lack of dramatic involvement by the chorus seems to be a symptom of small budget regional Italian theatre, but not here. They do an excellent job!
So does the orchestra under Maestro Massimo Zanetti!
This traditionally staged version is nearly complete, with the exception of the second round of "Possente amor". There is a brief bit of frontal female nudity in the first scene, which I felt was unnecessary; though I am an admirer of the fair sex in all stages of dress, this just seems out of place here. Just sayin' ...
As noted, picture and sound are excellent. I was able to pick out some nice instrumental detailing, and the DTS surround really did give me the sense of a live performance.
Gentle reader, buying this one is a no brainer. It's "guaranteed to amaze".