Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi Rigoletto

Magazine article Gramophone

Verdi Rigoletto

Article excerpt



Dmitri Hvorostovsky bar   Rigoletto
Nadine Sierra sop         Gilda
Francesco Demuro ten      Duke
Andrea Mastroni bass      Sparafucile
Oksana Volkova contr      Maddalena

Men of the Kaunas State Choir; Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra / Constantine Orbelian Delos (M) (2) DE3522 (127' * DDD) Includes synopsis, libretto and translation

This new Rigoletto from Delos tragically serves as a valedictory recording. The death of Dmitri Hvorostovsky last November has robbed the operatic world of one of its greatest voices. His triumph in the 1989 Cardiff Singer of the World (in a 'Battle of the Baritones' final with Bryn Terfel) was gripping--nobody who heard it will forget his seamless legato in Posa's death scene from Don Carlo. Hvorostovsky's first recording, a selection of Verdi and Tchaikovsky arias, was incredibly beautiful, a disc I still spin often. The Siberian baritone, with his silver mane and aristocratic demeanour, was the definitive Onegin of his era, the last role he sang in London in December 2015.

Vocally, the young Hvorostovsky reminded me much of Ettore Bastianini; he cited the Italian baritone as one of his great idols. Bastianini was another singer whose life was cut tragically short due to cancer. In the 1960s Bastianini only disclosed his health battles with his closest family and friends--Franco Corelli was one of his few colleagues who knew--sometimes suffering a hostile reception for some rough later performances. He was booed as Scarpia at the Met in 1965 (his final year on stage). The world is a smaller place now and, thanks to social media, we all knew of Hvorostovsky's ongoing treatment for a brain tumour, desperately willing, praying for a recovery. The ovation for his 'Cortigiani' at a Met gala last May was a tremendous outpouring of love from his adoring public. …

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