I bougth this DVD mainly because Leo Nucci who is a veteran of the opera stage and have never dissapointed me. However there is something that bothers me of all these Zurich productions (i.e. Don Pasquale with Juan Diego Florez and now this one). They try to produce something in the midway between Eurotrash and traditional opera staging without succeding in any of both grounds. The staging of this Rigoletto is quite rigid and the scenes with the crowds (the court of the Duke) are painfully static and detached from the drama on stage. These swiss guys do not seem to understand what is going on, they look kind of souless and, believe me, it is not because the Duke's court is supposed to be full of jerks, but simply because these guys cannot act. The opening party at the Duke's Palace goes extremely slow compared, for instance, with the crude orgy of Mac Vicar's production for Covent Garden.
Putting the bad aspects of this production apart I have to say that I was quite surprised by the tenor in the role of the Duke, a famous unknown (at least for me)polish tenor whose name is Piotr Bczala. I never heard of him before. Indeed I was very moved by his beautiful and powerful voice and the interpretation of the role, specially in my all time favorite: Parmi Veder le lacrime (Second act). This guy really rules even over an old Nucci who has his ups and downs all through the opera.
Elena Mosuc in the role of Gilda is OK, her voice is nice and sweet but a bit too small and, at times, you have the feeling that she is having troubles trying to be heard over the orchestra. However she does a terrific job in Caro nome.
The last act is, by far the best one since it does not involve the static crowd of the Duke's court. This act is entirely on the singers hands (actually on the singers voices). The famous quartet is the summit of the whole opera, powefully done by the whole ensemble, bravo to all of them but, again Piotr Beczala excels here. By the way the mezzo Katharina Peetz, the Maddalena of this Rigoletto, is a real hottie. No wonder the duke abandoned Elena Mosuc for her :)
Nello Santi is a great conductor, however the orchestra goes far too slow and heavy all the time. Having a pic of the orchestra pit you can understand what is going on, again most of these musicians look quite detached and tired lacking of italian stamina.
Anyway, the real star in this uneven Rigoletto is definetely Piotr Beczala who soon, I think, will become an important figure in the hall of fame of Pavarotti's succesors.