Rigoletto – Kraus


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Kraus, L. Serra, Nucci, Pertusi; Campori. In Italian, no subtitles. (1987). 151m. Color.

Savor Kraus’s legato and rubato in “Parmi veder le lagrime.” The rubato would not have been possible without his capacious breath span. Both in “Parmi” and in “La donna è mobile” he repeatedly marries phrases everyone else sunders with breaths. He sings “Possente amor,” typically cut, and interpolates a high D at the end. Singing the duet squatting and jumping about, he manages to look both graceful and dignified. Yet he’s not above bowing when applauded.

Despite forward placement, Kraus does not in general cover, not in the passaggio, not on top. Covering seems to have come into use along with forward placement and today is widely thought indispensable. (“I wouldn’t know how to sing above the staff without it.”–Franco Corelli, who doesn’t place in the masque.)

Nucci is fervent, heartrending on the final “maledizione.” The audience cheers him the most. Serra sounds like a coloratura version of Nilsson, with the same masque placement. Ambra Vespasiani sings with more personality and greater variety of inflection than one is accustomed to with Maddalena. Pertusi, the Sparafucile, knows how to valorizzare la parola (to imbue words with meaning).

This performance was videotaped not for broadcast but to document a stage production. As a result, long shots and wide shots predominate, instead of close-ups, and the lighting was not adjusted for video. The quality of the images is crisp and detailed.

Because of bizarre lighting, this title is recommended only for lovers of these singers. (One does get used to the lighting, however.) For a traditional Rigoletto, in fine quality, see #550, with Gobbi.–Stefan Zucker