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Verdi - Rigoletto

3.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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(Oct 31, 2006)
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Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Marcelo Alvarez, Carlos Alvarez, Inva Mula, Julian Konstantinov, Jesus Lopez Cobos
  • Directors: Graham Vick
  • Format: AC-3, Classical, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Italian, English, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: October 31, 2006
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I2IV0G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,902 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

If you want a kinder, gentler "Rigoletto," this may not be the production for you. It's as if the director is examining the underbelly of the all the characters. Even Gilda, although still sympathetic, doesn't make her initial entrance as the innocent bird-like creature we're used to. That said, this production excels in every way: the performances, the conducting, the direction, the sets and costumes.

As the Duke of Mantua, Marcelo Alvarez is a revelation. His interpretation of the role has deepened since his 2001 Covent Garden performance (also on DVD) where he is essentially arrogant and full of raging hormones. Here, he's all that and more: a demonic, cruel bastard. It's the best interpretation of the Duke I've seen. (If Rudy Maxa could hear Alvarez's sarcastic and bullying rendition of "Questa o quella," he'd stop using it as the bouncy theme music for his "Smart Travels" TV show! I'll never again be able to relate to that song as fun and frivolous.) Alvarez's tenor voice just rings out throughout the opera. He sings the bel canto-style "Parmi veder" beautifully, but we can still hear his self-centeredness underneath the sentiment. And he performs "La donna e mobile" right in our faces, as if the Duke knows this tune is destined to become an opera cliché. What a brute.

Carlos Alvarez is superb as Rigoletto. I've never seen a role so well-studied. He appears to have a specific intention behind every word, every note, every move. His voice is powerful and expressive. In "Corteggiani, vil razza," by the time he gets to "Give an old man his daughter back," our heart is breaking for him. His deformity is no longer wretched for us to look at - it's just his outward physical appearance. Inside, he's just another parent suffering over a child.
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I am glad I purchased this dvd because of Carlos Alvarez and Marcelo Alvarez, both of whom I enjoy very much. The Gilda, Inva Mula, was good also. She has a very focused voice, and although she doesn't have tons of fireworks, she is quite pleasant to listen to and her acting is quite acceptable.

Carlos Alvarez has a very focused, low baritone voice which unfailingly impresses and cuts through the orchestra, however the lowness of the voice seems to make the high notes come hard. For the most part, he executes them beautifully, without yelling or wavering. His acting is good and he is probably the most satisfying Rigoletto singing today.

Marcelo Alvarez was fine in this role as normal, although occasionally a little off his mark. When he got relaxed, he did some wonderful singing. He held a long note at the end of 'La Donna e Mobile' and the orchestra just cut right in on him. Bravo to him to try to make the show exciting and poo on the conductor for cutting him off. He of course, didn't get much of his deserved applause as the music was continuing on. He is heavy in this dvd and would look so much better with some weight off.

The Sparafucile was a little unsteady. The Monterone seemed pretty good but better in his second part than in his first. The Magdalena was very pretty but her voice had no focus or was quite small - it was lost most of the time she sang.

Now the sets and costumes: They are the real downfall of this dvd. They are just ugly. Rigoletto is made to wear a rubber head-wound thing that makes his head look all deformed and scabby. He also has to wear a complete upper body rubber suit covering even the arms which gives him both the hump and all sorts of nasty sores.
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I am generally not terribly fond of operatic stagings that blur the original intent of the work, and in particular I am unalterably opposed to the kind of senseless Eurotrashing that one so often sees in German and Austrian productions; the Salzburg Festival is a particular offender in this regard. We in America are probably not as familiar with the great opera house in Barcelona, the Teatre del Liceu, as we should be, but there has been a spate of productions coming out on DVD that, for me at least, have proven that this house is one of the great ones. And in this production from the Liceu one could say that there has been some degree of Regietheater taking over. But this production staged by Graham Vick and designed by Paul Brown is exceedingly effective. This is not a pretty 'Rigoletto' but then the opera's story isn't a pretty one, although traditional stagings tend to mute this by playing down Rigoletto's callousness as Jester and playing up his tenderness as Gilda's Father. Further, Gilda is often portrayed as a completely innocent and pure woman who is simply a pawn in the plot. This production makes her a more knowing young woman than is generally the case, a young woman who wants to break out of her sequestered environment in Rigoletto's claustrophobic house.

The sets suggest a kind of abstract environment in which the Duke's court is a sterile, cold and cynical place where the Duke's numerous women are simply part of the furniture (almost literally) and the Duke's cynicism is played up as a result. Rigoletto's padded leather chair symbolizes both a sardonic imitation of the Duke's throne and yet a comfy home haven. The brutality of the people in the opera is emphasized.
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