Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Robert Farr
MusicWeb International, December 2013

Rigoletto comes tenth in the all time list of performed operas and second after La Traviata at number two. There have been several modern video recordings of this work, including some with strong singing casts, but afflicted, in my view, from the vices I outline above. Recorded live at the Parma Verdi Festival, 2008, this production is reprised from that premiered in 1987. It features a traditional set and period costumes and is as well sung as any, not least by Leo Nucci in the title role in his sixty sixth year. The response of the audience is such that he and the singer of Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, have to reprise part of the act two duet. I believe this is by far the best-staged and performed Rigoletto in the modern digital format and aspect and should be a part of any opera collection. © 2013 MusicWeb International

Peter Bates
Audiophile Audition, September 2013

VERDI, G.: Rigoletto (Teatro Regio di Parma, 2008) (NTSC) 723208
VERDI, G.: Rigoletto (Teatro Regio di Parma, 2008) (Blu-ray, HD) 723304

Unlike previous renditions of this opera…this one pulls out all stops and takes chances with staging and characterization. The sprightly dance music of the orgy scene at the Duke of Mantua’s palace belies the undercurrent of dark betrayal and insult to family honor. And it soon changes to something darker, more ribald. Nudity and simulated sex occur on stage. Curses fly freely as brickbats. The sound is brilliantly expansive, particularly in the opening ensemble piece at the orgy. There is an unprecedented level of musical variety.

And the casting is superb. © Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Bill White
Fanfare, September 2013

Sets and costumes are traditional and ornately colorful.

The singing is…quite good. Machaidze…looks young and radiant and sings better than I have yet heard her. She is the best singer here…She is…lovely to listen to and gives us plenty of youthful high notes (as does the tenor)…her vivacious interactions and acting skills make this one of the best Gildas on video. The singing of young Italian tenor Francesco Demuro in the role of the Duke is also quite good. Demuro…sings all of the Duke’s tuneful music with aplomb…he is a great asset to this production…the sound is first-rate, as usual…Chorus and orchestra are fine, also as usual, and guest conductor Massimo Zanetti is proving to be one of the best in the series. Verdi’s masterful score seemingly goes from highlight to highlight and Zanetti guides it flawlessly, and with good forward impetus.

This C Major rendition is quite a strong one and the only one on high definition Blu-ray disc…this production deserves a strong recommendation. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, July 2013

This 2008 Parma production, in sets and costumes by Pierluigi Samaritani, seems intent on doing visual justice to Verdi’s masterful creation. The lighting enables movement between scenes to be presented with ease and fluency by the video director, and stage promise becomes reality under the hands of director Stefano Vizioli. The opening scene is in colourful period costume and fully represents the licentious nature of the Mantuan Court. Even the full frontal nude exposure of Monterone’s daughter is appropriate rather than salacious (CH.6). The smooth movement between scenes, all in recognisably appropriate period and location settings, adds to the mood that is within Verdi’s creation. Everything is brought to recognisable fruition as to period and drama.

Whilst the visuals are important and appreciated, the singing and the musical performance must match. I have not always been an admirer of Leo Nucci. I have on occasion found his tone rather thin and wiry, in Verdi in particular. In this performance he does not show his sixty-five years. As an actor he has always had the capacity to represent a character and creep under the skin. No character is more complex than Rigoletto: caustic jester, and loving but over-protective father of a young daughter who he seeks to keep unaware of his day job and particularly from the eyes of his employer. In this performance Nucci manages to convey, by his acting, physical and vocal, all the necessary facets. In this he creates the best account of the role since I saw the Greek Kostas Paskalis in 1968 with the young Pavarotti as the Duke. Only for a few moments at the end of a magnificent Cortigiani vil razza danata (CH.22) does Nucci momentarily show signs of vocal pressure. However, after a rendition such as he gives I forgive all, and even the very slight unsteadiness at the end might be considered appropriate for a bereft and ageing father. Somehow or other he found the energy and vocal prowess to reprise, with his Gilda, the concluding verses of Tutte le feste (CH.24). This brought the enthusiastic audience to its feet.

The opera is not a one-singer piece. In this instance, Rigoletto’s daughter Gilda is sung with beautiful tone and a lovely trill in Caro nome (CH.14). All this is allied to consummate acting and a most appropriate and appealing stage presence.

All the minor parts are sung well with the Parma chorus in vibrant voice. © MusicWeb International Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group