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Verdi's Rigoletto - The Film

Directed by
Jean-Pierre Ponnelle

Ingvar Wixell ... Rigoletto / Monterone
Edita Gruberova ... Gilda
Luciano Pavarotti ... Il Duca di Mantova
Ferruccio Furlanetto ... Sparafucile
Victoria Vergara ... Maddalena
Fedora Barbieri ... Giovanna
Bernd Weikl ... Marullo (sung by) (voice)
Roland Bracht ... Ceprano
Louis Otey ... Marullo (played by)
Rémy Corazza ... Borsa
Kathleen Kuhlmann ... Contessa di Ceprano

Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Riccardo Chailly

Decca DVD 071 401-9

Decently sung and dubbed, with the music in the safe hands of Chailly, this Rigoletto is brash, over the top and not to be dismissed.

Ponnelle is a great creator of visually heightened opera films and (should we feel guilty?) we enjoyed it immoderately. Everything is larger and closer than life, with the Pavarotti of 1983 its anti-hero, but this may be Luciano's best-sung performance on DVD, which will ensure its survival in the catalogues.

Ingvar Wixell paints a three dimensional portrait of the personality-disordered court jester, with many chips on his deformed shoulder, who doubles with his nemesis Monterone, whose curse is realised at the end. The subtitling ensures that each twist of the story is made absolutley clear as the logic of Piave's revenge story going wrong proceeds to its inexorable watery finish in the middle of the Venice lagoon.

At around £11 from Amazon you should not disagree with one purchaser; "one of the best in my collection - - a must have for anyone who likes opera shot on location - - unless you really prefer the limitations of a theatre performance, you will not be disappointed".

Peter Grahame Woolf