Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Gerit Harmsen, Heinrich Schlusnus, Giuseppe Verdi|
Listen to Samples
The Greatest Rigoletto (You knew I'd say this, didn't you?)
Ralph J. Steinberg | New York, NY United States | 04/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"OK, I admit it: One of the attractions of this set is hearing Rigoletto performed in my second native language. But there is more, much more to this set than catering to my language preferences.
I have owned several great performances of the opera: An old La Scala recording with Stracciari and conducted by Molajoli, featuring great singing from the baritone and by his co stars Capsir and Borgioli; the version generally regarded as the standard Rigoletto, with Gobbi, Callas and Di Stephano, under Serafin; and a great performance of the last Act under Toscanini, with Warren, Milanov and Pearce. But this version under Heger beats them all.
In comparing this with the Serafin, one factor is that the 1944 Heger is far better recorded than the 1955 EMI, with lots of room spaciousness and a great balance between voices and orchestra. The orchestra really comes throught with stunning impact and the detail is fabulous. Great as the La Scala Orchestra is, it cannot match the sheer potency of the Berlin State Opera. Heger's direction is far different from Serafin's; where Serafin is moving, Heger is terrifying. This is a dark, tense, brooding rendition, with Monterone's Curse delivered with incredible force and weight, the first encounter with Sparafucile really sinister, and the storm music of the last Act making even Toscanini's sound like a brief summer shower. However, Heger also takes the opening festive music with more sparkle and vigor than I can ever remember hearing.
Schlusnus, in the title role, has the same superb dramatic sense as Gobbi, but brings it off even better, because his superior vocal resources make for a greater force of delivery. Berger is a perfect blend of virginal innocense and womanly passion; her "Teurer Name" ("Caro Nome") for once does not sound like a coloratura display piece, because ever run and trill is given dramatic meaning. Roswaenge tops every Duke, blending charm with an underlying irresponsibility that borders on the psychopathic. Klose, that superb contralto, is a perfectly argent Maddalena. Greindl is the most subtly menacing Sparafucile I have ever heard. The rest of the cast is all one could ask.
I recommend this as the essntial Rigoletto. Correct language or not, who cares?