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Notes and Editorial Reviews
'Rigoletto' established Verdi's greatness and has held the stage consistently since the premiere in 1851. The libretto was considered astoundingly graphic: the hunchbacked jester, his virginal, frighteningly naive daughter, and the licentious Duke were all given music of astonishing modernity. 'Rigoletto' makes almost no use of the familiar four part aria form (two slow verses followed by two fast ones) which is the fundamental building block of his other great middle period works, 'La Traviata' and 'Il Trovatore,' presaging the music Verdi would go on to write in his late masterpieces.
Although known as the "Callas 'Rigoletto,'" this recording was the third and last time she sang Gilda. Lightening her voice to suggest the girlish Gilda,
she is a powerful presence and an excellent foil for the tremendous Rigoletto of Tito Gobbi. Both are less than perfect vocalists but both are recorded at near the peak of their careers. Giuseppe Di Stefano is a dashing, heedless Duke. Serafin leads a richly traditional performance that embraces the usual theater cuts. This 1955 recording is mono although it holds up well in the present remastering. Read less
Works on This Recording
Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi
Giuse Gerbino (Soprano),
Luisa Mandelli (Mezzo Soprano),
Giuseppe Di Stefano (Tenor),
Maria Callas (Soprano),
Tito Gobbi (Baritone),
Nicola Zaccaria (Bass),
Adriana Lazzarini (Alto),
Plinio Clabassi (Bass),
William Dickie (Baritone),
Renato Ercolani (Tenor),
Carlo Forti (Bass),
Elvira Galassi (Mezzo Soprano),
Vittorio Tatozzi (Bass)
Milan Teatro alla Scala Orchestra,
Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus
Written: 1851; Italy
Date of Recording: 9/1955
Venue: La Scala Theater, Milan, Italy
Length: 118 Minutes 33 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
Dramatic and moving performance of a nearly perfe February 11, 2014
By Stephen Marmer (Los Angeles, CA) See All My Reviews
"Rigoletto is one of those nearly perfect operas. There is not a single note that could be added or subtracted to make it better. Callas is an outstanding Gilda, Tito Gobbi has always been one of my favorites, as he is a sensitive musician as well as a great singer. Di Stefano is very good as the Duke. True, there are newer recordings that are excellent too, many of which have better digital sound. A new DVD and Blu-ray with Leo Nucci as Rigoletto conducted by Massimo Zanetti is absolutely outstanding and is now my first video choice, though the earlier Nucci recording conducted by Nello Santi is also quite good. But for the sheer dramatic power and the heart wrenching ending, the Callis/Gobbi/Di Stefano/ Serafin still ranks right at the top of my listening hierarchy."
INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE December 10, 2013
By U. KIRKPATRICK (Kingston, ON) See All My Reviews
"This must be one of the best recordings of Rigoletto around, notwithstanding newer more technically perfect recordings. These superb voices are unmatched by any of today's performers or even any of those in the intervening years. Gobbi is the ultimate Rigoletto. His acting of the Jester comes across even in an audiio recording. Callas is at her magnificent best and Di Stefano still had that great voice in this recording. Nobody could or should want anything better."
intensely dramatic May 3, 2013
By J. Tatnall (West Grove, PA) See All My Reviews
"This is not the most complete or the best recorded or most prettily sung Rigoletto on disc. Those distinctions go to the digital and stereo eras. (I like the Sutherland, Pavarotti, Milnes line up.)But for music drama, this is the performance to have. The drama is so intense, the fear, pain and hurt conveyed by Callas and Gobbi, and underscored by Serafin's infinitely flexible beat is so real as to leave one exhausted and ill at ease by the end. This is tragedy; this is catharsis. This is great opera!"