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Verdi: Rigoletto / Luisi, Damrau, Florez, Lucic, Dresden Opera

Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 41868  
Composer:  Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Diana DamrauJuan Diego FlórezZeljko Lucic
Conductor:  Fabio Luisi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sächsische Staatskapelle
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Opera never has shown its contrasts more than in this Rigoletto from the Sächsische Staatskapelle in Dresden. The production is full of harsh conflicts, which Verdi himself implies by filling this tragedy with so much cheery music. All of the performances here are outstanding. Željko Lu?i? vanquishes the title role with his powerful voice and emotive acting, which makes him riveting if slightly painful to watch as he is emotionally destroyed. Juan Diego Flórez has one of the best tenor voices currently in opera, and though he has now stopped singing the Duke, it is not because he could not fill the role. His voice is as agile and pure as ever, but still powerful enough to hold his own against the rest of the cast. His Read more interpretation of the Duke is delightfully lecherous, but also shows signs of truly deeper emotion during his Act 2 aria.

Diana Damrau certainly has the voice for Gilda, but she's not quite convincing as a young girl. Georg Zeppenfeld is a callous Sparafucile, but sympathetic to Maddalena, his sister. His voice is smooth and without any push for his high notes. The ensemble is superb: the choral diction is clear, with well-measured dynamics and precise cut-offs; and the dancers stand out, with eye-catching animal-like physicality in the opening scene. Under Fabio Luisi the orchestra plays with what might be called sarcasm through the happy music, and with heart-rending, moaning intensity through the sad.

The modern minimalist aesthetic of the production is brutally effective. The minimal sets, mostly consisting of blank walls contrasted with the boldly-colored costumes, highlight the on-stage activity. The court scenes feature some riotous action, making for some "fun" moments (if you can apply that term to Rigoletto), but when Gilda appears the stage becomes less busy. The most remarkable part of the production is how well all the pieces come together to form the whole--the lighting strengthening the sets, the sets highlighting the costumes, and all of it supporting the action on stage.

The sound and video quality is excellent, though I do have a small issue with the editing; sometimes the cuts from one shot to the next seem premature, which is unnecessarily jarring. However, the production team does a fine job of providing close-ups while not losing continuity of action or breaking the whole-stage atmosphere.

This production kept me engaged each time I watched it, and I would be glad to go back for more. The unrestrained style of the production may be off-putting to some, but most observers will find it truly compelling--a Rigoletto not to be missed. Highly recommended.

--Rob McGinness, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Diana Damrau (Soprano), Juan Diego Flórez (Tenor), Zeljko Lucic (Baritone)
Conductor:  Fabio Luisi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sächsische Staatskapelle
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Overall review November 22, 2013 By Rosamund F. (Holgate, New South Wales) See All My Reviews "I enjoyed the music but I found it too off-putting watching Luisi's abnormal mouthing of the lyrics." Report Abuse
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