Notes and Editorial Reviews
Giuseppe Verdi may have written his most glamorous and heroic roles for tenors, but he often assigned his more psychologically complex and conflicted character portrayals to baritones- and Rigoletto is just such a role: perhaps the greatest baritone role ever written. It demands not only a magnificent voice, but also a supremely gifted actor who is able to convey a broad range of emotions, human qualities, and inner subtleties. Enter universally beloved Dmitri Hvorostovsky: a prolific Delos artist and supreme Verdi baritone. The resplendent beauty and incomparable versatility of his voice is matched only by the depth of his interpretive soul. In this- Dmitri’s first ever (and long-awaited) complete recording of Rigoletto- he performs the title role magnificently, along with an all-star supporting cast. Choral-orchestral splendor comes courtesy of renowned maestro Constantine Orbelian, his Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra, and the men of the Kaunas State Choir.
Fans of the Russian baritone have a chance to hear him sing the entire role of the tragic jester with the release of his first complete recording of Verdi’s opera — made in July 2016 — that shows him in close-to-prime form.
Rigoletto is a touchstone role for a baritone, and Hvorostovsky has sung it live. Though his voice is not of the immense size associated with some great Verdi baritones of the past, he makes a splendid impact here. His very first utterance, mocking the cuckolded Count Ceprano, comes with a snarl that deliberately coarsens his trademark silken sound. It’s not until the next scene, in his tender duet with his daughter, Gilda, that the burnished tones we normally associate with Hvorostovsky emerge. The rest of the cast is first-rate, without overshadowing the main attraction.
– Associated Press (Mike Silverman)