Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shout out

For this Rigoletto Henry Fogel played on his WFMT radio show the other night. It's really something of a revelation. I don't think I've ever heard Rigoletto sound so 'serious' for lack of a better word. Gavazzeni slows the tempi way down from what we generally hear, but plays it to the hilt, and the effect is tremendous. Moments one generally consigns to filler become fraught with tragedy and emotion and the readings of the arias are wonderful. There's no chance of falling into the 'pretty line over oom-pah' syndrome here. Each is distinctive, incredibly engaged, and heartbreaking.

The singers--young Scotto, Kraus, and Bastianni--are tremendous, but most of all Bastianni. Sweet lord let me hear a Rigoletto like that live in my lifetime. It is at that rare freaky level of operatic art where somehow the vocal reading is elegant, refined, and smooth AT THE SAME TIME as the raw, unvarnished emotion of the moment comes through with disturbing "opera can be this upsetting??" clarity. Kraus's voice, which I don't love in Mozart, is right-on for the Duke. Scotto doesn't sound terribly distinctive here, but it ends up being a plus, making for an extremely pure, flawless Gilda: i.e. none of that choking it through the last scene for effect, she does it as intended and the result is marvelous.

It has been noted.


Will said...

Bastianini always wanted to play parts other than the baritone good guys. The voice was so beautiful and refined, that the offers were always for Papa Germont, Gerard in Chenier, Macello in Boheme, ETC. ETC. He wanted Scarpia and Co.

But when the chance came, he blew it. Decca/London cast him as Iago in Otello opposite Tebaldi and del Monaco and Bastianini showed up unprepared, with some music not fully learned and no idea what the plot was about. He was replaced. Can you imagine what his "Era la notte" would have been like?

Unknown said...

So, you going to the RLS party this year?