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Verdi: Rigoletto

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 17, 1990
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Prelude - Jonel Perlea
  2. Della mia bella incognita borghese
  3. Questa o quella - Jussi Björling
  4. Partite? Crudele!
  5. Gran nuova!
  6. Ch'io gli parli
  7. Quel vecchio maledivami!
  8. Pari siamo! Io la lingua
  9. Figlia! - Mio padre!
  10. Ah! veglia, o donna
  11. Giovanna, ho dei rimorsi
  12. Che m'ami, deh! ripetimi
  13. Gualtier Maldè, caro nome
  14. Riedo! perchè?
  15. Zitti, zitti, moviamo a vendetta

Disc: 2

  1. Ella mi fu rapita!, parmi veder le lagrime
  2. Duca, Duca?
  3. Povero Rigoletto!
  4. Cortigiani, vil razza dannata
  5. Mio padre! - Dio! mia Gilda!
  6. Tutte le feste al tempio
  7. Schiudete!
  8. Sì, vendetta, tremenda vendetta
  9. E l'ami? - Sempre
  10. La donna è mobile
  11. E là il vostr'uomo
  12. Un dì, se ben rammentomi
  13. Bella figlia dell'amore (Quartet)
  14. Venti scudi hai tu detto?
  15. Ah, più non ragiono!
  16. Ancor c'è mezz'ora
  17. Della vendetta alfin
  18. Chi è mai?
  19. V'ho ingannato, colpevole fui
  20. Lassù in cielo


Product Details

  • Conductor: Jonel Perlea
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (April 17, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Alliance
  • Run Time: 113 minutes
  • ASIN: B000003EVS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,274 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on June 10, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Like most opera recordings of this type, which harken back to the Met days of old, this middle-Verdi opera is performed with stellar singers and standard cuts. Maestro Perlea leads a balanced orchestra with verve and taste. The great baritone Robert Merrill comes in and out of his music like a lion--he is in glorious voice here, and while his vocal acting isn't too inspired, he isn't wooden either. A wonderful job by a Verdi great. Jussi Bjoerling is a young, regal Duke, and uses his top-shape technique and elegant timbre to sing his music in stride. Roberta Peters is ideal as Gilda; there is a youthful quality in her voice, but she's no soubrette. Hers is a lyric coloratura with an amazing upper register, and she takes to dizzying vocal heights very often in this recording (it's very effective, however, and welcome, and Miss Peters sang coloratura SO WELL). Her characterization doesn't have much depth (her wail in the last scene is silly), yet her Gilda is still a gem. Giorgio Tozzi is chilling as Sparafucile, blending splendor and darkness in his voice--terrific! Anna Maria Rota (Maddalena) is playful and emotional...plus, her voice is on par with the rest of the leads. The supporting cast does a great job, particularly Arturo La Porta as Marullo. The page (Santa Chissari) may be the only irritating part of this recording (her voice is, shall we say, very "dental" sounding). I'm not going to give this recording five stars since there ARE moments that I don't care for (such as the cut where the Duke's "Possente amor" takes place--surely a tenor of Bjoerling's caliber could handle it!)...I still enjoy this recording, however, and would recommend it. This is the result of great talents enhancing a great work.
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For beautiful great singing this performance is a classic. Merrill, Bjorling, Peters are recorded in their prime.Merrill was simply the great Verdi baritone of the Metropolitan in the 1950s and 1960s with Bjorling the great lyric dramatic tenor in an unmatched tenor/baritone partnership. Peters' performance of Caro Nome is one of the greatest renditions on record. The small roles especially Tozzi are magnificently sung. I do not find the blandness that one reviewer reported. This is a studio performance but all involved turn in highly expressive and intense performances.
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Format: Audio CD
This "Rigoletto" is a fine representation of what was taking place during the glory days of New York's Metropolitan Opera in the 1950s. Bjorling, Merrill and, down in the basso basement, Tozzi do exactly what any listener would hope for Bjorling, Merrill and Tozzi to do. If what they give us is blandness, as an earlier reviewer has charged, then by all means let us have such marvelously sung blandness.

Roberta Peters was a bright, shining star who had the misfortune to be on the wrong side of the tide that swept first Callas and then Sutherland to the operatic heights. But just listen to her. You will find a fine technician with wonderful sound and great precision. Compare her Gilda that of other great sopranos and it is likely that you will find her performance (along with that of Erna Berger, who was one generation older) to be definitive.

This is an RCA studio recording from the 1950s, and it sounds like it. Nobody is going to confuse it with a digital recording. On the other hand, the voices are well-caught and the singing is glorious.

Five Stars.
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This early (1956) stereo studio recording has long been a classic despite the cuts and being overshadowed by Callas/Gobbi/Di Stefano set on EMI made the year before this. Perlea's conducting is a little bland but he is very supportive of his singers and the playing of the Rome Opera Orchestra is acceptable if occasionally a bit scratchy. The important orchestral passages such as the brooding opening to Act 4 and the subsequent storm music make their impact; Perlea lends intensity by groaning along (loudly, in the famous quartet) like Barbirolli and a few other vocal conductors I could name.

Of the principal singers I have my doubts about only Roberta Peters. She has a true, suitably girlish sound but can be piercing in alt and there is something windy in her tone where more fullness would be welcome. Her trill is a little laboured and the melodramatic scream as she is stabbed ill-advised. Nonetheless, hers is a convincing Gilda and her pyrotechnics, including a steam-whistle top E, might please others more than they do me. About Bjorling's Duke there can be no reservations: he is in glorious voice to rival Pavarotti and sounds half his true age; such a pity he wasn't given the cabaletta "Possente amore" to sing, too. Merrill displays one of the richest, most resonant baritones ever to grace the stage and does not here seem susceptible to the accusation sometimes made against him that he is dramatically inert; his palpable grief during "Ah! Deh non parlare al misero" is very touching.

The supporting cast, including a strong Maddalena from Anna Maria Rota and a black-voiced Tozzi as Sparafucile, is excellent, even if Monterone could be steadier. This is a "Rigoletto" that should be in every Verdi-lover's collection, unless you prefer Kraus to Bjorling (I don't) or Moffo to Peters (which I do), in which case you might prefer the later, 1963 RCA recording by Merrill with Solti.
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