rigoletto

As Hip as Elvis: Caruso the Pop Idol

John Potter

Every generation seems to reinvent the tenor as something closer to a pop star than an opera star. The Three Tenors were among the late 20th century’s great musical marketing successes, and the brightest star that they acknowledged in the tenor firmament was cinema heartthrob Mario Lanza. Lanza himself claimed Enrico Caruso as his greatest influence and famously played him on screen, reminding a wider audience that there was nothing incompatible with classical tenors and genuine popularity, whatever they were singing.

Verdi and the Immortal Opera

Hal Gordon

Verdi’s later operatic efforts were similarly meddled with to make them politically correct. In 1850, he gave the world “Rigoletto.” The opera was based on a novel by Victor Hugo called Le roi s’amuse (The King Amuses Himself). Hugo’s novel recounted the romantic escapades of the randy 16th Century French monarch, Francis I. Verdi’s portrait of Francis was largely accurate and that, according to the censors, was just the problem. 

Subscribe to RSS - rigoletto