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Verdi;Giuseppe Rigoletto [Import]

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Product Details

  • Format: Classical, NTSC, Import
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Catalan
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Studio: Arthaus Musik
  • Release Date: June 8 2010
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003IP2YIK

Product Description

If there are lingering doubts about the Royal Opera House's artistic renaissance after its mid-1990s doldrum years, David McVicar's gritty and sexy production of Rigoletto should blow them all away. One of the principal reasons is McVicar's decision to emphasize the tyrannical nature of the Duke (beautifully sung by Marcelo Alvarez), and the appalling social injustice that springs from a corrupt leader: his court is a place of physical and sexual abuse (graphically, but by no means gratuitously, depicted). This violence throws the dual nature of Paolo Gavanelli's energetic, insectlike Rigoletto into relief, making his sycophancy seem all the worse and his vengefulness all the more sympathetic.

The singing and acting are first-rate. Christine Schafer has a gorgeous voice and an intelligent sense of phrasing, and plays Gilda as a frail, morbid creature whose ultimate self-sacrifice is as much an act of neurotic despair as of love. The production is also a visual and orchestral success. Michael Vale's set is a masterpiece of economy and Edward Downes draws some stunning playing from the Royal Opera Orchestra. This is undoubtedly the best Rigoletto committed to DVD thus far. --Warwick Thomson

Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carl M. on Jan. 25 2004
Format: DVD
The acting of this opera is so good that it's difficult to describe. The combination of acting, costume, and direction as it comes together especially in the performance of Paolo Gavanelli as Rigoletto is the very definition of artistic vitality and "realism." The post modern edge, the grittiness of the performance is aided by the nudity although I'm somewhat troubled by being drawn into an operatic production in part by shapely breasts, and how that affects the general prospects of opera. I'm most familiar with Christine Schafer through Hyperion's Schubert edition and Schumann songs, but she's certainly excellently warm of voice and well suited to this dramatic role. What does disturb and disappoint is the lack of technical facility involved in recording the audio of this performance, which is after all the central point. The sound is weak at a time when the art of recording live performances has generally been mastered. Not using the center channel for a track in a surround version where the front channel needs the help for voice in no way "limits" the disaster. I'd like to kick
someone for doing this to a performance that defines why one should see opera.
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Format: DVD
This version of Verdi's classic, Rigoletto, performed by The Royal Opera at Covent Gardens, England offers all the features you would expect in a DVD: great digital picture and sound, anamoprphic wide screen, and special features about Verdi and a slide synopsis of the opera which is quite good, though brief. The performances are strong and the sound recording is excellent. The production value, too, is without flaws, except that this version is a darker presentation than I would have preferred. Darker, meaning, post-modernistic, apocalyptic set design which seems to be the rage nowadays - a rage that sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. Modernism has to be used wisely, and here, while it is not offensive, didn't lend itself to the color one might expect from this opera. I never quite knew if the setting of the Duke's castle was inside or outside of the towering wall that I guess is supposed to represent his residence. The minimalist approach, as I said, has its drawbacks. Still, watching a performance on a DVD is so much more preferable than tape that it makes up for some of the shortcomings in set design. The performances, particularly that of Paolo Gavanelli, as Rigoletto, are superb - truly superb. He has a wonderful baritone voice that never falters or barks. Christine Schäfer, soprano, is marvelous as Gilda, his daughter. She delivers a sensitive and beautifully acted performance. Indeed, all the performances are outstanding, gritty and real. What distinguishes this version from the others I have seen is the full frontal nudity in the opening scene which introduces us to the debauchery that ostensibly occurs inside the Duke of Mantua's great hall regularly.Read more ›
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By A Customer on Sept. 23 2003
Format: DVD
I loved everything about this production. I can see that a lot of work went into the design of the set however I didn't care for the finished product - solely a matter of opinion. Without making this a long review, I thought the entire cast was fabulous except for Christine Schafer as Gilda. In a production that was big on showing stark contrast, I found her presence to be one dimensional and uninspired. She could have raised it a notch or two to bring life to 'Gilda.' The superb acting and interpretations of the others completely washed her out.
Also I don't agree with all the ruckus about the nudity in the beginning being gratuitous. I didn't expect it and when I saw it I literally gasped in shock. But I believe that was the director's intent. Yes I was shocked but I didn't find it gratuitous at all. It helped to create an atmosphere that brought a stark contrast between the palatial surroundings inside and the violent depravity going on outside. If nudity bothers you or you prefer having the ideas left to your imagination instead then you will most likely be disappointed with the opening scene. But it was a nice change from the status quo as far as interpretation is concerned. It's a keeper!
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Format: DVD
First - the subject of sexual content...I thought it was a startling attention grabber at the beginning and was very effective at portraying a corrupt society. It reminded me of another wonderful opera production that is also well represented on DVD: the English National Opera's wonderful presentation of one of Handel's many operatic masterpieces ARIODANTE.
Seeing this RIGOLETTO for the first time - I wondered why many outspoken opera-lovers object so much to nudity that would be barely noticed in a movie.
In any case - for post-modernists - this is an outstanding RIGOLETTO. It appears from other reviews that everyone appreciates the cast and well they should! It really does bring an opera to life more vividly when the performers look like they could be the characters they portray - and in addition to that, these people act and sing SO well!
If you read these reviews and generally feel repulsed at the idea of nudity in RIGOLETTO, then steer clear of this dvd. If you prefer videos of staged operas as opposed to movie versions (like the Pavarotti RIGOLETTO), this is for you.
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