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Verdi: Rigoletto Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, May 13, 1985
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Product Description

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Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
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Release Date: 1-JAN-2002

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This Rigoletto has been around for so long it might be easy to take it for granted or skip it for a newer set. Don't! It features all three principals in superb voice, as well as pacing from Maestro Bonynge that is much heavier on drama than most of us expect from him. Sutherland may sound a bit mature (and mush-mouthed) for Gilda, but not only is she sympathetic, she sings gorgeously. And speaking of gorgeous, those familiar only with the Pavarotti of the last 10 years would be wise to hear him here--this is stylish, full-blooded, Golden Age singing. The beautifully round tone, the easy high notes, the impeccable diction, and the pointed characterization are unique. Milnes, in the title role, is also in splendid voice, offering smooth legato, brilliant, Verdian ring and real attention to the text. The ADD sound is excellent. No other modern recording offers the visceral thrill of this Rigoletto--go for it. --Robert Levine
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Product Details

  • Performer: Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Sherrill Milnes, Joseph Clement, John Gibbs, et al.
  • Orchestra: London Symphony Orchestra
  • Conductor: Richard Bonynge
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (May 13, 1985)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: London / Decca
  • ASIN: B0000041Q2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,205 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
What a choice recording! Here we find all three principals at the top of their powers. The real show stopper here though is the great Luciano Pavarotti. Here he is singing the high notes of the Duke of Mantua with great ease and security, including a High D at the end of the cabaletta "Possente Amor" (something one does not hear from this great Tenor today). Of the three recordings of Rigoletto that Maestro Pavarotti has made, this is by far my favorite. Sherrill Milnes, in his absolute prime here, is a very sympathetic Rigoletto, singing the role with much pathos, reminiscent of the great Leonard Warren on this performance. Dame Joan sings the music of Rigoletto's tragic daughter, Gilda, very beautifully. This recording is considered by many critics as, arguably, the greatest recording of Rigoletto ever made. One will not hear an argument from me. Bonynge's conducting is also very fine here. This would truly make a great primary recording of Rigoletto for anyone's collection.
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Format: Audio CD
This is the best Rigoletto on records, without a doubt. The performance brings the drama and brilliance of Verdi's opera to life. Sherril Milnes, in excellent voice, brings all the dimensions of the title role with both vocal splendor and dramatic instinct. Milnes' "Cortigiani, vil razza dannata" and the final scene are particularily heartbreaking, while his duets with Gilda are very tender. Milnes' high notes are superb; in his last phrase "La Maledizione!" the baritones even interpolates a higher ending than the one done by many Rigolettos. I cannot think of a better Duke of Mantua, vocally speaking, than Luciano Pavarotti. His golden sound, command of legato singing and brilliant high notes (up to D on this recording) makes his Duke a pleasure to hear, even when the character is so despicable. Joan Sutherland does not sound as youthful as we would like, and she does not sound much involved either. But she is great voice as always, with her perfect trill, brilliant high notes (up to E flat) and accurate cadenzas. Her duets with Milnes and Pavarotti are breathtakingly beautiful. The rest of the cast is very good. Richard Bonynge conducts with energy and balance between the singers and the orchestra. This performance is one of the great opera recordings of all time and a must for any music lover's collection.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I owned this recording on record about 30 years ago. In my full flush of youth, I could only find fault with Pavarotti, Milnes and especially Sutherland. Hearing it again on CD, I realize the stupidity of youth. This recording is thrilling in every way. Although it has been said that Bonynge is not a very dramatic conductor, he certainly contradicts that appraisal in this recording He truly rings every ounce of drama (along with tenderness) out of this wonderful opera.
The role of Rigoletto, I feel, was one of Milnes best-recorded portrayals. It is simply staggering to hear a truly dramatic and huge voice (as opposed to a lyric voice) sing this role. I've never heard Rigoletto sung any better.
Pavarotti is outstanding. When Luciano was singing in his prime, I rebelliously refussed to appreciate him. Now that his career is over and I listen to recordings from his prime, I realize what a treasure he really was--oh the foolishness of youth, on my part!
Joan Sutherland is another signer I've grown to appreciate more and more when listening to some of her old recordings. I grew up on Callas' Gilda and refused to appreciate Dame Joan's recording of the role. Now, I, once again, realize how silly one can be in one's youth. Sutherland sings Gilda wonderfully hitting every optional high note that has ever been thought of for the role of Gilda. And hit them she does!!. It's just thrilling! Her trills are fantastic, as is everything else that she does to and for the role of Gilda
Do yourself a favor and purchase this recording of Rigoletto. It doesn't get any better than this. If this ain't "Golden Age" singing, I don't know what is!
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By A Customer on March 22, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Sutherland is a golden age Gilda. And you are not telling the truth if you said that you're not comparing her to Callas. If you are not comparing her to Callas, why are you mentioning Callas? As for sounding old, no Gilda sounds as old as Callas, and I don't mean that as disrespect. Callas is a great singer, she just has a very dark voice. But it no way interfered with her ability to sing Gilda. And she is very nearly as fine a Gilda as Sutherland.
Anyway, this is a super Rigoletto. Sutherland's voice is breathtaking in tone and bravura. She hits high E flats that overwhelms the listener with excitement. And her staccati and trills in Caro nome are lessons in bel canto. Pavarotti's Duke is superb. He also hits the high C's and D's beautifully, and he sounds fresh and young.
Milnes is also arousing as the jester. He also attacks all the optional high notes like Sutherland and Pavorotti. He even takes a high B flat. He should have tried to attempt spinto tenor roles like Otello or Pagliacci.
To sum it up, ignore the reviews of bias, immature bashers, and listen to Verdi's masterpiece sung by the true giants of opera.
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