Top critical review
Famous Rigoletto but not the best.
on October 24, 2000
Milnes is a wonderful Rigoletto and he is the main reason I like edition. He sings perfectly and acts nicely. Like many opera fans I first heard "La Donna e mobile" performed by Luciano Pavarotti and indeed he has spectacular high notes. I never thought another tenor could ever sing this aria better until I heard Carlo Bergonzi. Even though I had also heard him singing some other roles, as the Duke he really enchanted me!!His voice when singing this aria or some minutes later the "bella figlia dell'amore" is not only spectacular but really characterizes the Duke.Pavarotti lacks the sweetness especially on lower notes that is soooo beautiful when listening to Carlo Bergonzi.
The choice of Gilda on this Rigoletto is another drawback as already mentioned in some other reviews. Sutherland never sounds like the teenager Gilda she is supposed to be. Although she does have a well technically trained voice she sings like she has a tennis ball in her mouth! The ideal Gilda to me is with no doubt Renata Scotto who possesses a beautiful, fresh, clear voice so perfect for Verdi roles. As Gilda she manages to sound exactly like the girl she is supposed to be in this opera.
On the whole, if you are a Milnes-fan this set is certainly worth buying. Otherwise, try finding a recording with Scotto or Bergonzi and a good Rigoletto. In fact, there is a recording with these two and D. Fisher-Diskau as Rigoletto by Deutsche Grammophon that I regard as one of the best recordings of this opera !