Notes and Editorial Reviews
In 1950 Ferenc Fricsay made this one and only recording of Verdi's opera 'Rigoletto'. The opera was sung in German as was customary at that time. This recording refutes convincingly the widespread prejudice that a refined orchestral sound is not of prime importance in Verdi's operas. Fricsay makes it plainly audible that the essential dramatic features of this opera manifest themselves in the instrumental shades and colours as well as in the expression of the vocal passages. The present recording was made between 20 and 30 September 1950 for the RIAS Berlin. Fricsay decided to record with the RIAS-Symphonie-Orchester (today's Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin) of which he had been principal conductor since December 1948, rather than the orchestra of the municipal opera (today's Deutsche Oper Berlin) of which he had been musical director since September 1949. When Fricsay was able to choose, he always preferred the radio orchestra for recordings as they were accustomed to working with microphones. The singers engaged for the main roles are typical for the kind of ensemble, the group of singers, Fricsay enjoyed working with most: the 35-year-old Rudolf Schock as Duke, still young but already with a developed voice Josef Metternich, of the same age as Schock, as court jester Rigoletto Rita Streich as Gilda. Even for the supporting roles he cast well-known artists: Margarete Klose sang the small role of Maddalena Fritz Hoppe was Sparafucile, the honourable bandit and Silvia Menz sang the parts of Countess Ceprano and Giovanna, Gilda's maid, with the same clarity as her colleagues. There is a 'Producer's Comment' from producer Ludger Böckenhoff about this production.