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In their series of celebrated opera productions from the Gran Teatre
del Liceu in Barcelona, Arthaus presents a staging of Rigoletto, one
of Verdi's most popular operas. The tragic opera about the Duke of
Mantua, the court jester Rigoletto and his daughter Gilda forms
part of the composer's trilogia popolare together with La Traviata
and Il Trovatore. It is full of melodious arias, expressive duets and
highly dramatic orchestration.
With the brilliant Marcelo Álvarez singing the Duke of Mantua and baritone Carlos Álvarez, whose Rigoletto has been
hailed as the perfect embodiment of Verdi's court jester, appearing in the title role, this production presents international
stars in two of the leading roles. The dramatic requirements of this well-conceived and convincing interpretation
are both musically and visually extremely well met by the leading male singers and Inva Mula's Gilda. She is a Verdi
soprano par excellence. The remarkable ensemble, orchestra and chorus of Barcelona s Liceu under the experienced
baton of Jesús López Cobos prove the opera house's international standing once again.
Graham Vick's production and Paul Brown's sets and costumes aim to convey the essence of the drama conceptually
rather than literally which makes for a captivating performance.
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Top Customer Reviews
Had it not been for the hideous (water-spouting) jester's costume that distracts from the performance of Carlos Alvarez, this would have been my only five star review of the nine-or-so Rigoletto videos that I own (I couldn't give it five stars, but I shouldn't have given it only four).
In June of 2011, one of Amazon's top ballet/opera reviewers, Ivy Lin, quipped that "Rigoletto is cursed on video." Every video version disappoints in some way, and alas, that's the case here. But from my perspective, the pluses in this widescreen production--highlighted by the sublime characterization of Gilda by the golden-throated, beautiful Albanian soprano, Inva Mula--exceed the minuses by a larger margin here than in any of the other available videos.
Check out the substantive reviews by a couple of Amazon's top classical reviewers (Toni Bernhard and J. Scott Morrison), who each gave this production five stars in their discerning reviews of the selfsame TDK dvd (listed-above). Enjoy!
UPDATE (7-8-13): Amazon has recently (probably June, 2013) added all of the reviews for the TDK production to this Arthaus Musik production.
CAVEAT EMPTOR (10-25-15): Amazon seems to have confounded a whole host of reviews for various performances of Rigoletto. Mine is for the specific performance with Carlos Alvarez and Inva Mula.
I'm kind of amused by the comments on the "nudity" in this production, as if the director had sought to shock (or entice) opera-goers just by having some people take their clothes off. That's not the point at all. The court is not a party house; it is a prison where stupefied victims are stripped and used as playthings.
All in all, a disc I would not do without.
The Duke is not a nice man. His courtiers are not nice people. What goes on is not nice. This is a very powerful visual representation of what is going on; and the orchestra bopping away in the background in the first scene heightens the on-stage tension.
Not to put too fine a point on it, this is a truly great interpretation and production. It is all of a piece. The singers can act (or should it be the actors can sing) and it fits together musically, dramatically and visually.
I would consider it a "must" buy.
Gilda I found charming and naive enough to be credible.
The nuditity failed to add anything artistic to the opera. True opera fans should not need it to appreciate the music. Thus, I'm not sure of the intention of the producers.
Overall I think the Pavarotti version, with Edita Gruberova and Wixell has much better singing.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sound is terribly weak and uneven which is a pity because it was extremely...Read more
This opera has MORE than enough bonus points to make up for the awful sound 'editing': the orchestra often blasts you out of your seat, shortly after you adjust it...Read more
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