Rigoletto

https://www.discogs.com/Giuseppe-Verdi-RCA-Orchestra-Renato-CelliniRobert-Shaw-Chorale-Robert-Shaw-Rigoletto/release/6601575

Open in Spotify

According to wikipedia this is the first recording of opera on LP. My record is a re-issue of the 1950 recording, in mono (although it doesn’t say so on the cover). It is also my very first opera on LP, but not the first opera I heard. In fact, by this time I already saw some live.

Rigoletto is a susceptibly cheerful opera with a dark and twisted ending. It is made after the play Le roy s’amuse by Victor Hugo. It premiered in 1851 in La Fenice in Venice, who also commissioned it. In Italian dramatic style, it is one of the many operas that has a love story with a tragic death in the end.

Wagner once wrote the he wanted to make serious opera. He was opposed to Verdi, because he made opera that was used as light music in parties and fairs. Verdi is indeed the master of the catchy tune. This opera is no exception. Already at its premiere, European press complained that Verdi made a shallow opera: “light music, pleasant dance rhythms for frightful scenes; that death and corruption are represented as in all the works of this composer by gallops and party favors”.

In 1991, when I found this at the Waterlooplein, I was starting with opera. My first opera was, I think, an unlikely one by Tchaikovsky. But when I bought this, I already saw Verdi’s Aida live (with nudes on stage, oh oh).

I think I was always disappointed by the recording quality of this record. I am not a lover of historical recordings. I like good sound, I am not so much interested in the performance that I take the bad quality for granted. That is of course a choice everybody has to make for themselves, but that’s how it is for me. Listen to the Spotify link and judge for yourself. Compare with a more modern recording, and see what you like.

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