Verdi: Rigoletto (highlights)

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The 1961 recording of Rigoletto is the first of two in which Joan Sutherland sang the role of Gilda. Although the later cast - conducted by Richard Bonynge - was starrier, with Pavarotti taking the role of the Duke, this earlier version is still favoured by Sutherland aficionados. "Sutherland is extraordinary" wrote an Amazon customer. "The voice is full, clear, floating, amazing. Her portion of the first Rigoletto/Gilda duet is a case in point. The high tessitura of Gilda's part are breathtakingly beautiful and touching in themselves. Her 'Caro nome' is supreme and unique among her versions, includes an amazing trill on high D flat major in place of the staccato reiterations usually heard. Her characterisation is well thought out and clearly projected. This is some of her best work on records."