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Posted October 1, 2010
In some scenes, the picture is pretty dark. Apparently the video recording was done with normal theatrical lighting instead of the brighter lighting customarily used for televised stage performances. But I can see clearly everything I need to see, and picture quality is the last thing I'm thinking about when I listen to this superb performance. I bought this DVD to have a video documentation of Alfredo Kraus' Duke. Although he was about 60 years old at the time of this performance, his singing is flawless in tone, technique, and style. The only other DVD assumption of this role that can compare to Kraus' is Luciano Pavarotti's (in the Ponnelle film). Pavarotti plays up the Duke's lechery, whereas Kraus emphasizes his aristocratic mien. Pavarotti's voice is more sumptuous, but Kraus' distinctive tone fits the music perfectly, and his singing of ''Parmi veder'' is superior to Pavarotti's. Kraus interpolates a high ''D'' at the conclusion of ''Possente amor'' that obviously thrills the notoriously finicky Parma audience, which later demands (but does not receive) an encore of ''La donna e mobile.'' Although I thought of Kraus as the main attraction when I bought this DVD, it is Leo Nucci's portrayal of Rigoletto that makes this a great performance. Nucci's singing is the best I have ever heard from him in any role. I had always thought of him as a vocally reliable but bland interpreter, but on this occasion he projects the essence of Rigoletto's character in a way that is both moving and beautiful to hear. His voice is in marvelous condition. He has the breath control and legato for ''Deh, non parlare'' and the powerful top notes for ''Si, vendetta.'' He is even better than Ingvar Wixell (in the Ponnelle film). Luciana Serra (Gilda) is not quite in the same class as her two colleagues, but she sings well and looks good and her powerful top notes are an advantage in the ''Si, vendetta'' duet with Nucci. The rest of the cast is good, and although Angelo Campori may not be the most renowned of maestros, his conception of this opera is right on the money. The production is attractive and traditional, without any of the directorial stupidities seen in the Ponnelle film. All in all, this is my favorite video of Rigoletto. My recommendation: don't worry about the picture; you'll get used to it. Buy this DVD and concentrate on the performance.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.