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Verdi - Jonathan Miller's Rigoletto (2007)

John Rawnsley , Marie McLaughlin , John Michael Phillips  |  NR |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Rawnsley, Marie McLaughlin, John Tomlinson, Arthur Davies, Jean Rigby
  • Directors: John Michael Phillips
  • Format: Classical, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kultur Video
  • DVD Release Date: February 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000LP6KU8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,342 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Verdi - Jonathan Miller's Rigoletto" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

In Jonathan Miller's brilliant interpretation of Verdi's opera, the story of Rigoletto unfolds in New York's mob-controlled Little Italy in the 1950's. Rigoletto, a clowning bartender, moves about in a world of criminals, thieves, and murderers - a world he keeps his beloved daughter, Gilda, well away from. During a party to celebrate the Feat of San Gennaro, Rigoletto makes one joke too many, angering Don Monterone, who puts his curse on him. And so, a fatal chain of events are set in motion as Gilda meets the philandering Duke and the story moves toward its tragic conclusion.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly phenomenal production May 5, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This ENO production, directed by Jonathan Miller, is updated and set in New York's Little Italy. The singing is of uniformly high quality but John Rawnsley's performance in the title role is one of the best performances of anyone on film in opera. His rendition of Rigoletto's big aria is absolutely riveting. The English translation works well despite the problem of repeated text common to opera of this period. No detail is overlooked in the updating of the story--that's why the update works so well. I cannot praise this performance enough.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
I saw this production live at ENO in the 70s and for years wanted to get a copy on VHS or DVD and so was very pleased to see this appear and get a copy. I know that ENO released a VHS tape but it was long deleted and now I know why.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement!

The DVD opens with an interesting introduction from Jonathan Miller on the rational behind the production but as soon as you hear the first chords from the orchestra you know this is a truly awful DVD transfer.

The picture is OK most of the time (though there are too many hand held close ups for my taste and these have a 'shaky' quality about them) but where the DVD really falls down is the audio recording. It says it is in Dolby Digital Stereo but since it was produced in the 1970s by Thames Television this must be a processed version of the original mono recording - I can only assume they must have used a bit rate of about 4 because the quality is truly the worst I have ever heard on any DVD (and I have had some pretty bad ones in the past).

To give you an idea of how terrible it is I can only assume it was recorded by somebody in the back row of the stalls with a 'cheap' 1970s cassette player using the built in microphone and auto noise levelling.

If you had one of these devices you will know precisely what I mean ... the sound is tinny in the extreme, there is absolutely no depth to the orchestral sound or the voices and there appears to be some sort of post production processing going on which almost turns off the orchestra when the singers are singing and then blasts out when they take a breath - the effect is truly hideous and makes the recording almost unbearable to listen to.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MASTERPIECE ! November 21, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
This production, by director Elijah Moshinsky for English National Opera, cries out for issue on DVD. It is, quite simply, the best updating and most relevant story-telling one can ever envisage this opera receiving. The entire opera is reset in Mafia-ridden Little Italy in New York, and the consistency and truthfulness to the original intent of the opera is astonishing. This is no updating for updating's sake. It is the work of a master director totally attuned to Verdi's drama. I've played this video often to my children, from about the age of 10 and up, and it is just a riveting introduction to great music and drama. The video is wearing out though -- SO PLEASE, NOW REMASTER FOR DVD! Joseph Losey's feature film presentation of Don Giovanni is also crying out for issue on DVD -- filmed treatment of operas at this quality are rare.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Watch out for new DVD! March 11, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
None of the other reviews are about the new DVD. I just received that DVD and the sound is unacceptably bad. I taped the opera years ago from a TV broadcast, using rabbit ears, and the sound was excellent. So I think the problem must be with the new edition or with the copy I received. I agree with the other reviewers that this version of Rigoletto is very excellent, and also interestingly novel in the translation, which I find to be a very appropriate although not literal one.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Production. I recommend the DVD July 11, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I was very hesitant to buy this DVD after reading the negative reviews about the sound quality, but the concept seemed so interesting, I bought the DVD anyway, and I'm glad I did. I'm no expert on opera or music, but I think the sound is fine and the picture is very good. The sound was a bit low for me, so I used boost on the DVD player software. There are a few minor imperfections and the sound may not be as crystal clear as a modern digital recording, but this was taped in 1982 or 83, and I didn't have a problem with the sound. Since people gave the VHS such good reviews, I rented the VHS at a rental store near me, which has almost every VHS tape ever made, to compare it with the DVD. In my opinion, the DVD is better than the original VHS tape because they removed the hissing that was on the VHS. That is probably why the volume of the DVD is a bit lower than the volume of the VHS tape. The music and singing are beautiful, the acting is excellent, and the production is brilliant.
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