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  • Verdi - Rigoletto / Chailly, Pavarotti, Wixell, Gruberova, Vienna Philharmonic
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Verdi - Rigoletto / Chailly, Pavarotti, Wixell, Gruberova, Vienna Philharmonic

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Editorial Reviews

This extraordinarily powerful 1983 production may be the best-sung performance by Luciano Pavarotti on DVD, but when acting values are counted in, Ingvar Wixell manages to outshine the tenor star. Verdi gave the Duke two of Italian opera's most brilliant arias ("Questa o quella" and "La donna e mobile"), but he gave the deformed jester Rigoletto a depth and complexity of character that is reflected in music of great variety and enormous emotional impact: the cruel mockery of the opening scene, the self-doubts inspired by his dialogue with Sparafucile, the paternal anxieties and final despair at his daughter's sad fate, and the burning, self-destructive thirst for revenge. All these motives work their way into music of great dramatic richness, variety, and intensity. Wixell rises to its challenges, not only in the title role but in a cameo appearance as Rigoletto's nemesis Monterone. Location filming provides an atmosphere unavailable in staged productions. --Joe McLellan

From the Back Cover

Jean-Pierre's classic film of Verdi's dark tragedy features the legendary Luciano Pavarotti as the dashing Duke of Mantua (celebrated for his aria "La donna è mobile"). Filmed on location and capturing all the drama and color of Renaissance Italy, it also showcases two other great singers of our time--Ingvar Wixell as the hunchbacked court jester, and Edita Gruberova as his beautiful but ill-fated daughter.

Ingvar Wixell: Rigoletto/Monterone
Edita Gruberova: Gilda
Luciano Pavarotti: The Duke of Mantua
Ferruccio Furlanetto: Sparafucile
Victoria Vergara: Maddalena
Fedora Barbieri: Giovanna
Bernd Weikl: Marullo (sung by)
Louis Otey: Marullo (played by)
Roland Bracht: Ceprano
Rémy Corazza: Borsa
Kathleen Kuhlmann: Contessa di Ceprano

Vienna Philharmonic & Vienna State Opera Chorus, Riccardo Chailly, conductor

Special Features

  • Livret "Sysnopsy"

Product Details

  • Actors: Ingvar Wixell, Edita Gruberova, Luciano Pavarotti, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Victoria Vergara
  • Directors: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
  • Writers: Francesco Maria Piave, Victor Hugo
  • Producers: Horant H. Hohlfeld
  • Format: Classical, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Chinese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Records
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2001
  • Run Time: 128 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059QY2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #204,560 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Verdi - Rigoletto / Chailly, Pavarotti, Wixell, Gruberova, Vienna Philharmonic" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 128 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This video is not Rigoletto at Verona, it is the opera produced as a film in Mantua, the actual setting of the opera. The town, the river, and the splendid ducal palace are the settings for what is really a gorgeous and thrilling production. In addition to Pavarotti as the duke, the cast features Ingmar Wixell as a superb Rigoletto and Edita Gruberova as an ethereal and convincing Gilda. The horrors of the story are powerfully and movingly played out through tremendous singing and a terrific production job. Fabulous, and haunting.
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112 of 113 people found the following review helpful By Rosomax on January 28, 2003
Format: DVD
Okay, first off, it's a FILM version of the opera, so one can't quite judge it by the standards of a recorded live opera. After being a devoted opera fan for over 20 years, I need to mention that ANYONE, not only "newbies" will enjoy it. What I immediately noticed was the fact that the opera score is here without omissions, a problem that haunts many attempts of making a good opera film. "Otello" or "La Traviata", for instance, are superbly staged, but they suffer from many scene omissions, which can be upsetting to the fans. Not the case here, at least I could not find any without having to retrieve my copy of the score and compare it line by line.
The absolute revelation for me was Mr. Ingwar Wixell. I've heard his voice many times, particularly on early Verdi recordings brought to life by Lamberto Gardelli. Well, here he sounds even better, plus he proves himself as one of the best singing actors I've ever seen. At the first scene at Duke's palace, Rigoletto is plain disgusting, no wonder Monterone curses him. By the way, Monterone is played by Wixell as well, and I was surprised by the sonority and great low register that his baritone is able to produce. Later, he's a obsessively loving father and a mischievous "vendicator". Loved Feruccio Furlanetto's Sparafucile! I could not believe it was him under all that makeup, but the pitch-black quality of his voice is unmistakable. Edita Gruberova has long been one of the world's leading high coloratura sopranos. Indeed, to be able to accurately negotiate Gilda's tessitura, one needs a spectacular high range. Sutherland also had that kind of high register, but Gruberova was a better choice cinematically, I suppose. Still, I wished for a subtler portrait of Gilda, but it had to do.
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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful By "gsibbery" on June 6, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is an excellent performance of Verdi's "Rigoletto" based upon Vicor Hugo's "L'Roi S'Amuse (The King Amuses Himself) and is one of his finest operas. From start of finish this is a masterpiece. All the singers are well-polished and highly convincing. Ingvar Wixell's portrayal of the deformed court jester Rigoletto (renamed from Hugo's "Triboletto") in the court of Mantua was the best that I have ever seen. Pavarotti, who plays the Duke himself, is in top form as always (although such a pudgy Don Juan may seem slightly out-of-place, his acting is superb), and Edita Gruberova does as astounding job as Gilda, Rigoletto's daughter. The settings look genuine, the music is excellent and Wixell truly manages to capture the pain and humiliation of a man forced into being a fool by his deformities and social position. The history of the opera makes for an interesting study in censorship as well. Hugo himself preferred this opera to his own story that it was based on! The quartet at the end is partuclalry memorable and the murderer was so scuzzy and grungy looking that he was almost comical, although his deep bass was beautiful. Finely acted, visually appealing and great music. What more could one ask for?
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on November 25, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Real opera lovers are a wee tad finicky, as the one- and two-star reviews of this DVD demonstrate. Real opera lovers seem to have a Platonic Ideal of the opera in their cavernous consciousnesses, a template of what Joe Verdi intended, from which any deviation is risky. Real opera lovers don't take well to 'film' productions of their idolized operas. Even if they are now ultra-pecunious enough to sit in the orchestra, they recall their youthful evenings in 'paradise' (the highest balcony) as the best of their lives, and they need that distant, almost inaudible timbre in the tenor's voice to sustain their enthusiasm. Real opera lovers KNOW whose performance, attested only by repute or perhaps by a tinny recording, was sans pareil for all time.

Me? I'm just a guy who goes to the opera for the fun of it, and I'm ready to be pleased. I'm also a musician by trade, which leads me to cut quite a lot of slack for the professional sisters and brothers, and inclines me to care more about the sounds I hear, the music itself, than about the staging or acting. Yes yes, I know opera as an art aspires to totality, to the sublime unison of drama and music. But realistically, friends, the unison is most often imbalanced: wonderful music, dopey libretto. Can you earnestly argue otherwise? Particularly about the operas of Giuseppe Verdi?

Case in point: Rigoletto! The script is a squalid and improbable melodrama. Without music, it would be snored off the stage. Rigoletto is a horrid little beast, deformed as much in mind as in body, and he's more convincingly gullible than devious. The Duke of Mantua is an odious tyrant. Everyone in the cast is besotted with evil except Gilda, Rigoletto's cloistered daughter, whose purity of being must be taken on faith.
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