Rigoletto

 

Verdi Rigoletto opera to a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. Directed by Stefano Vizioli in 2008 (after the 1987 Pierluigi Samaritani production) at the Teatro Regio di Parma Verdi Festival. Stars Francesco Demuro (Duke of Mantova), Leo Nucci (Rigoletto), Nino Machaidze (Gilda), Marco Spotti (Sparafucile), Stefanie Irányi (Maddalena), Katarina Nikolic (Giovanna), Roberto Tagliavini (Count of Monterone), Orazio Mori (Marullo), Mauro Buffoli (Matteo Borsa), Ezio Maria Tisi (Count di Ceprano), and Scilla Cristiano (Countess di Ceprano).  Andrea Battistoni conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Regio Di Parma (Chorus Master Martino Faggini). Set and costumes originally designed (1987) by Pierluigi Samaritani and revised by Alessandro Ciammarughi; lighting by Franco Marri; directed for video by Andrea Bevilacqua. Released 2013, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: A-

Leo Nucci (Rigoletto) almost has had a lock on singing the hunchback. Here he's shown with Count Monterone's daughter. (Monterone's daughter is a mute and uncredited role created by the director; she does not appear in the Verdi libretto.) Monterone complains that his daughter has been traduced. But, on the other hand, the director doesn't picture the daughter exactly as a vestal virgin: 

And this Rigoletto is nastier than the norm. He really earns the curse he receives from the aggrieved father:

As a man, I have a hard time seeing why women fall to all fours panting in the presence of some of the lousiest men---while they ignore the noble and good men (like I was) who court them. But even I can see why Gilda (Nino Machaidze) would fall for this Francesco Demuro as Duke of Mantova:

The Duke reports that Gilda could have ruined everything for everybody. She . . .

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Andrea Bevilacqua provides a ton of dramatic close-ups---next below is Marco Spotti as Sparafucile, the hit man:

Is Rigoletto thinking of assassinating Monterone? Maybe, and it's always a good idea to know an assassin:

Rigoletto's secret---he has a daughter:

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Despite all efforts of her father to protect her, Gilda has fallen in love with a young man who claims to be a student (but is in fact the Duke). Gilda's famous aria delivered lying down:

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Rigoletto's enemies are confused---they think he has a secret mistress:

Rigoletto states that a man will do anything . . .

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Verdi's most famous tune: "La donna è mobile" ("Woman is Fickle"):

Poor Gilda hears the Duke seduce the barmaid using the exact same pitch he successfully used on herself:

Gilda's sacrifice:

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Below Rigoletto's remorse. Confused? Good . . . watch the opera and see how well all this fits together:

Is C Major putting good titles in their Tutto Verdi box or are they stuffing it with whatever they can rummage up? When this Samaritani production was young, the Russian communists still ruled in the USSR. Vizioli worked as a protégé with Samaritani back then, so he was a good choice to revive the work in 2008. Eric Myers in the July 2013 issue of Opera News (page 61) gave this recording high marks for impressive sets, good directing, and good singers/orchestra. I'll add that the designs and video content are impressive and slick. I just checked (2016) and ArkivMusic still has this as a Recommended Recording. So this title, which you can buy as a single disc, is a good choice and also adds good value to the Tutto Verdi box. This C Major offering has stiff competition from the Arthaus Rigoletto, also with Leo Nucci as Rigoletto, which you might be able to buy at a super-bargain price. Finally, the best Rigoletto of all at this time is the updated Met version set in Las Vegas.

The first time I watched subject title, I thought it was too dated. But on later viewing, I relented and came to admire it more and more. I'll give this Regio di Parma version a A-, which is the same grade I gave to the Arthaus version.