Based on a play by Victor Hugo, Rigoletto is one of Verdi's best and most popular operas, and this week, we have highlights of the music from a 1960 studio recording with Ettore Bastianini as Rigoletto, Renata Scotto as Gilda, and Alfredo Krauss as the Duke of Mantua. All three singers were in the early prime of their careers, and of the many fine recordings of Rigoletto, this is one of the best. Gianandrea Gavazzenni conducts the Orchestra and chorus of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.
Krauss and Scotto went on to sing well at major international houses for decades, but Bastianni's carreer was cut short. Diagnosed with cancer three years after this recording, he continued to sing, but died in 1967 at the age of 44. But his recordings, reviews and the memory of his performances place him as one of the best bartitones of the 20th century.