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VERDI: Rigoletto (Bjorling, R. Peters, Merrill) (1956)

Composer(s):Rossini, GioachinoVerdi, Giuseppe
Period(s) Romantic
Genre Classical Music
Category Opera
Catalogue 8.111276-77
Label Naxos Historical
Quality   320kbps
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When this 1956 recording of Rigoletto was first released in Britain, The Gramophone reviewer commented: “under Perlea, the orchestral playing is firm and dramatic, well balanced with the voice. The music is well paced. Björling’s tone is a constant pleasure. He sings elegantly. Merrill, too, is in fine voice: he sings the title rôle in correct and often impressive style… in short, this performance with Metropolitan stars offers an able, and therefore enjoyable performance of the opera”. Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill can also be heard together in Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci (Naxos 8.110258) and Puccini’s Manon Lescaut (Naxos 8.111030-31).


Review By David Denton,Naxos,June 2008

The temptation to make this reissue centres on Jussi Bjorling’s ardent portrayal of the Duke, though those who have forgotten Robert Merrill’s big and generous voice will be equally pleased to discover a Rigoletto that avoids the excesses often used to characterise the misfortunes of the tormented hunchback. At times he is in danger of overloading microphones, as we hear in his outbursts in the second act confrontation with the Courtiers. By comparison Bjorling’s virile voice makes Giuseppe di Stefano - on the Callas recording - sound a rather limp character, Bjorling’s Duke would readily sweep any female off of her feet. Yet in those moments when a liquid lyric quality is required, his voice is all chocolate and cream. Roberta Peters as Gilda goes through



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