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Cat. No. CHAN 3030(2) Price: £20 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 3030 - Verdi: Rigoletto
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Available From: 01 January 1995
Rigoletto was the first of Verdi’s three most popular operas, which also included Il trovatore and La traviata and which appeared within the two-year span 1851-3. Verdi, upon being asked which was his favourite of his operas, is said to have replied:’ Speaking as a professional, Rigoletto, as an amateur, Traviata.

Almost the most arresting aspect of all Verdi’s mature operas is his ability to find exactly the right colour and hue (what Italians call tinta), musically speaking, for each work. The Prelude to Rigoletto is as good an example as any; its dark tints and louring aspect immediately tell us of a tragic, fearsome drama to follow. The opening scene places us just as unerringly in the licentious court of the libidinous Duke of Mantua, agent of the unhappy events depicted within the work.

Both Victor Hugo’s play and Piave’s libretto ran into problems with the censors. The only character with moral fibre is a court jester who plots the assassination of an absolute ruler, his master. The Duke’s opening solo immediately establishes him as a free-loving libertine while Rigoletto’s dominating role represents the climax of Verdi’s use of the baritone as protagonist, here exploring perhaps the highest tessitura of any of his other operas.

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