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Giuseppe Verdi: Rigoletto
Leo Nucci (Rigoletto), Nino Machaidze (Gilda), Francesco Demuro (The Duke of Mantua), Marco Spotti (Sparafucile), Stefanie Irányi (Maddalena), Katarina Nikolic (Giovanna), Roberto Tagliavini (The Count of Monterone), Orazio Mori (Marullo), Mauro Buffoli (Matteo Borsa), Ezio Maria Tisi (Count Ceprano), Scilla Cristiano (Countess Ceprano/A page of the Duchess ), Alessandro Bianchini (Court Usher), Coro del Teatro Regio di Parma, Martino Faggiani (Chorus Master), Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Parma, Massimo Zanetti (Conductor), Stefano Vizioli (Stage Director), Pierluigi Samaritani (Set and Costume Designer with revisions by Alessandro Ciammarughi), Franco Marri (Lighting Designer), Andrea Bevilacqua (Video Director)
A production of UNITEL
Recorded live at the Teatro Regio di Parma, Parma, Italy on October 16, 20 and 22, 2008 -
Running time: 141 min. (including bonus introduction) - Booklet in English, German, French and Italian - Subtitles available in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Japanese
C Major Entertainment # 723208 (distributed by Naxos of America)

One of the most popular and frequently performed in the operatic canon is Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto. Stefano Vizioli’s direction is top notch, giving good sense to the meaning of melodramma. Pierluigi Samaritani’s sets and costumes cascade with richly ornamented fabrics and textures indicative of the period appropriate 17th century. There’s also rich saturation of tinta with contributions by Franco Marri. Particularly poignant is the lighting for the Gilda episode in Act I Scene II.

Massimo Zanetti demonstrates his precision by taking an extended pause before raising his baton for the first opening notes. This shining display by the Orchestra of Parma helps magnify the blockbuster cast. Filling the shoes of Rigoletto is Leo Nucci who sings and acts brilliantly with unblemished perfection. Nino Machaidze assumes the role of Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda, delivering wonderful expression, confident vocal delivery and splendid interpretative qualities. Machaidze has power unlike many others, particularly when singing the Act II conclusive “Sě vendetta” where she hits a high E flat with pinpoint accuracy. It’s so wonderful that the Rigoletto/Gilda duet is encored in front of a closed curtain where Nucci and Machaidze captivate in an equally stunning display.

Francesco Demuro’s timbre is a lightened version of Luciano Pavarotti: smooth and lustrous although his acting is a bit rigid and hollows with fervency: he gives the impression he’s more focused on the delivery than the character connect. Marri’s lighting authenticates the sinister Marco Spotti as Sparafucile, and his encounter with Stefanie Irányi as Maddalena has riveting measures. Under the direction of Martino Faggiani the male choral number in Act II demonstrates veritable responses to the vocal dialogue at hand with Rigoletto.

Emotionally charged and dramatically executed, this is one of the finest interpretations of Verdi’s Rigoletto.

Christie Grimstad




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