Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Verdi Rigoletto |
Actors: Nucci, Mosuc, Zurich Opera House, Santi
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
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Rigoletto--film or staged version ?
Chhan Thuan Kiat | Brunei Darussalam | 04/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For many opera fans the favourite Rigoletto on dvd remains the 1983 film version starring the young Pavarotti as the dashing Duke, his irrepressible singing and high spirits contrasting sharply with the gut wrenching wretchedness of the jester played by Wixell almost to perfection,and of course the inimitable Gruberova as Gilda the jester's daughter.(For me this together with the Domingo/Migenes 'Carmen', and the Domingo/Stratas 'La Traviata' represents the best of opera films). Now comes the 2006 production of Rigoletto, staged by the Zurich Opera House with Chorus and Orchestra wonderfully conducted by Santi, recorded in High-Definition and transfered to an Arthaus Blu Ray disc of breathtaking quality. I'm not exaggerating. Even by today's Hi-Def standards, the picture quality here is simply stunning: inky blackness, realistic night time scenes accurately rendered with proper light and shadow effects, atmospheric blue lighting, and the sets and costumes show up in vivid pop-up colours with razor sharp contrasts. The audio is no less exemplary, with the DTS HD MA 7.1 presenting a wide and believable soundstage within which the singers' voices are clearly 'imaged'. No balance problems here. In fact, this disc is technically a near reference recording which will warm the hearts of audiopliles and videophiles everywhere. But what about the performance itself? Well, here Leo Nucci steals the show, his rich and dark-toned voice and excellent vocal characterisation both satisfy and convince. In Act 1, he is the cynical court jester and is nasty cockiness personified. Come Act 2, his is the voice of the enraged father hell bent on vengeance against his Duke and in the final Act we hear the sobs of a broken man cradling his dying daughter Gilda. The downward metamorphosis is heartbreaking and the human degradation devastating. Elena Musoc whilst not in the same league as Gruberova in coloratura, sings beautifully and in many ways fills the role of the tragic daughter better. Of course the cherry in the pie of the film version is Pavarotti's high octane rendition of "La donna e mobile", whereas here the Duke(Piotr Beczala) is much less flamboyant and tosses off the famous aria in an almost casual style without much of the spotlight, which suits me fine, but most fans would find Pavarotti's approach irresistible. Overall the film version gives an impression of more dynamism and visual excitement, in part due to the relative freedom of film-making versus the physical confines of the traditional stage, but this by no means suggest that the Zurich version is somehow static or staid. Far from it. This version scores in its intimate telling of a harrowing tragedy and the depths of human suffering, is as well acted and sung as the other without the superstar names, and in the video and audio department is streets ahead of the older film. This superiority greatly enhances the viewing pleasure. Even if you have the film version, I would still highly recommend this Zurich production to you. Truly this is a 5 star disc. Enjoy!!"
David Smith | Penn Valley, PA USA | 02/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine recording of this opera. The Blu-ray allows near theater levels of lighting -- night appears like night. The video direction was solid -- the camera movements and cuts did not detract from the flow of the opera. I do not know music well enough to comment on the technical quality of the singing -- but all of the performances were satisfying. The conductor, Nello Santi, conducted from memory The sound was great -- good dynamic and frequency range. I saw this DVD on a 53 inch sony sxrd rear projection television in subdued light. It was an excellent experience."
Glen Kelly | New York City, NY USA | 10/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've only recently been buying opera on blu-ray, and this is by far the best I've seen. Very often, when one sees contemporary opera on DVD, a viewer finds himself sitting through a "Euro-trash" version of the opera, where the director runs riot, ignoring the original intentions of the composer and librettist, and doing nothing except drawing attention to himself. But here is a Rigoletto that I imagine Verdi would have loved. Combined with exemplary audio and sound, it would be hard to give a higher recommendation to this disc."
Among the most perfect performances and recordings of an ope
Bryan Leech | Melbourne, VIC, Australia | 02/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is too brief to be called a review, and I intend to come back with something more substantial. But for the moment.
We are in a period where directors far too often want to modernize the setting; sometimes it works, other times it is terrible misjudgement. Then there are productions geared to display a star performer. And so often producers/directors forget that if the composer wrote a work in the form of an opera, it was intended to be seen, so the acting, both visual and through the singing, is an important part of the production. This has, in the past, not always been given its due.
Well in this production, none of these failings are present. First, let me say, a composer wrote his opera for the stage, and that is where it should be performed. This production boasts a cast of uniform excellence, where the beautiful singing of Verdi's great score rates among the very best. But the performers, soloists and chorus have been directed to fully bring out the dramatic aspects as well, i.e., to act as well as sing. Musically, both chorus and orchestra are in top form, under a conductor who has a full grasp of the total perspective of the score, both musically and dramatically.
Sets and costumes cannot be faulted, and all is enhanced by excellent lighting design. All of this gushing is due to the fact that it is rare to find all the elements of an opera production at such a uniformly high standard and unified so that not one thing stands out and hits you as "not quite right", and nothing emerges above the totality to warrant special praise. There are operas I have reviewed with enthusiasm, but few have created the impression this performance gives (and it isn't even one of my favorite Verdi operas).
The icing on the cake has been expressed in most of the reviews. If ever you wanted a demonstration disc for your Blu-ray, this is it. Most people are unaware that Blu-ray does not necessarily equate with stunning quality, and there have been Blu-ray releases that were little better than DVD, although this seems to have been a passing phase. But in this release we have Blu-ray at its best: unsurpassed clarity, the greater depth and subtlety of color that is another of the advantages of the format, and sound quality that is an audiophile's dream - and what better production on which to lavish these high standards.
Please forgive my gushing, but this is a near-perfect release . Watching and listening to it was literally a revelation, and provides a "you are there" experiience if viewed via a good projector on a 100" screen with sound facilities that can do justice to what is on the disc.
In my planned rewrite, I promise to try and stand back and review this much less emotively."