Rigoletto is one of my favourite Verdi operas not just for the intriguing characters and story but especially for the music which, with Cortigiani, the quartet, La Donna e Mobile, Ella Mi Fa Rapita...Parmi Veder Le Lagrime, Caro Nomme, the wonderful duets between Gilda and Rigoletto and the chilling La Maledizione, is magnificent.
Alongside the 1982 Jean Pierre Ponelle film, this is my favourite Rigoletto. The orchestral playing and conducting do perfect justice to this amazing score, and the settings, photography and costumes still look absolutely beautiful.
The performances are outstanding. Gilda is sung with an appealing tone and is acted beguilingly, while Mario Fillepeshi is perfect as the Duke of Mantua and one of the best tenors in the role and I don't think I know a Sparafucile better than Guilio Neri(though Martti Talvela on the 1971 Bonynge recording comes close).
Tito Gobbi however is a revelation in this very difficult title role. Vocally, perhaps he is not entirely ideal, I too think Rigoletto needs a darker voice, however Gobbi does do a superb job with a moving Cortigiani and La Maledizione was enough to chill the blood. Gobbi did have a good voice that he used with great skill, it's just that it wasn't what I call powerful and it wasn't always beautiful either. However, as an interpretation Gobbi is one of the best, his acting and musicianship here as it always was is extraordinary.
All in all, one of the best Rigolettos there is. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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