Verdi: Rigoletto (In German) - Schlusnus, Rosvaenge, Berger, Klose, Greindl; Hager. Berlin, 1944
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If great Italian style is what you are looking for, then this recording may not be your cup of tea, however if you want to hear truly astonishing singing then you will certainly not be disappointed. Helge Rosvaenge sings the duke. It seems almost freakish that such a large and masculine sound can navigate the tessitura of this role with the degree of grace that he brings including a terrific C sharp in the Act II duet. Heinrich Schlusnus seems equally confidant as Rigoletto. His voice lacks the gruffness which many of his colleagues brought to the role. His attractive tone brings a frailty to the hunchback which you don't often hear. There is no denying that Erna Berger was certainly a skilled singer. For my money though the voice is just a little too birdy and without the aid of the microphones it is doubtful to me that she would be heard over the massive orchestra in the storm scene. However if it is dazzling displays of vocal pyrotechnics that you like, then you certainly won't be disappointed. The rest of the cast features some great singers including Margarete Klose as Magdalena and Josef Greindl as Sparafucile. Rudolf Hger gives a nuanced and surprisingly Italianate interpretation. The sound is excellent.