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Verdi;Giuseppe Rigoletto [Import]

Leo Nucci , Piotr Beczala , Gilbert Deflo    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

Price: CDN$ 35.99 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Famous unknown steals the show Oct. 2 2008
By Francesco Alvarez - Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A reliable but rather sanitised version without the gritty realism of McVicar's alternative and rather nasty concept Oct. 1 2012
By I. Giles - Published on Amazon.com
This DVD comes into direct competition with the specially priced issue of its own Blu-ray edition. That comes with a great number of bonus samplers of other Arthaus releases in Blu-ray format so, in effect, it also acts as an Arthaus advertisement. This DVD disc may therefore appear to be at an immediate disadvantage to its own Blu-ray version. However, this review is aimed primarily at those who still require a DVD version for whatever reason.

The performance is very secure with good solo singing by the experienced Leo Nucci as Rigoletto, Piotr Beczala as the duke plus two attractive female leads in Elena Mosuc as Gilda and Katharina Peetz as Maddalena. Laszio Polgar is a suitably dark Sparafucile. The other solo parts are also reliable as is the chorus.

The staging and production could be described as traditional and verging on the effective minimalist. The camera work is very clear and of good colour definition. The sound is presented in DTS 7.1 and stereo and is also very clear. The orchestra plays well under the firm guidance of Nello Santi.

For many this has proved to be close to the ideal performance, production and recording. There are others who disagree and have suggested that this is rather a routine performance with poor acting, only passable singing and generally dull. The full range of reactions is fully documented by many reviewers on both sides of the Atlantic.

I personally feel that this is better than just routine but, for me, it is all just a bit too clean - some might describe it as lacking in the necessary nastiness. This is not a nice story. The duke is amoral and presides over a dissolute court. Abduction and rape is commonplace (see Gilda's treatment) as is 'legalised' murder (see Monterone's fate) and contract killing (see Rigoletto/Sparafucile). Rigoletto himself takes previously full advantage of his 'privileged' position to taunt any who is not secure, even to the extent where the duke tells him he has over-stepped even his boundaries. Gilda herself chooses to sacrifice herself for a very doubtful cause which fails as we hear the duke blissfully singing unaware at the end.

Can such a scenario be found on the stage and on disc? The answer is 'Yes' and the recording is the McVicar concept at the Royal Opera. That too, is well recorded and is well sung and acted. I would hesitate to call it a traditional setting though as it is so corrupt but it is certainly of the correct period and oozes wickedness and venom. However, for me, the problem is the fast vibrato of Paulo Gavanelli who sings the title role of Rigoletto. His acting is fine but I do find the voice vibrato rather nasal or 'bleaty' at times and this is a problem for me. However, I should stress that this is my own personal response although it has been worthy of some comment from some reviewers. Some also have found the production rather too vivid for easy viewing. The opening court scene may be a bit strong for some tastes for example.

So there you have the sort of choice that is currently available. I would suggest that at its reduced price this offers a clean version of the opera in traditional staging but, for some tastes, it may be just a little tame. If that is the case, then there is MacVicar McVicar who provides an altogether earthier version and which does not pull any punches, but don't expect an easy night's entertainment.

This review is not intended to suggest a 'best version' but simply is intended to indicate the range of choices and what type of performances and productions that they offer. The rest is down to personal preference.
10 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old Nucci Dec 29 2007
By Mr. Daniel Zehnacker - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
L'opéra italien, et Verdien, n'a plus de soucis pour Leo Nucci, d'ailleurs, si je ne me trompe, je crois bien que Nucci n'a jamais abordé "que" l'opéra italien; je me souviens de lui, jeune et pimpant, au début des années 70, dans un mémorable "Barbiere di Siviglia" avec la pétulante Marilyn Horne (énorme succès!).
Trente ans après, la voix a perdu de son éclat et de sa brillance, mais le comédien demeure, habile et efficace. Dans ce nouveau Rigoletto, il est entouré d'une équipe formidable : le ténor et la soprano sont jeunes, beaux, et chantent remarquablement bien. Pour Nucci, c'est le Rigoletto de la maturité, et la mise en scène, les décors, les costumes, sont magnifiques. Beau travail, et belle retransmission d'opéra.

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