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Don Carlo Import, Box set


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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Nov. 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import, Box set
  • Label: Legato Classics
  • ASIN: B0000019XQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 6 Sept. 2009
It's a pleasure to come late to an opera recording and find already posted on Amazon.com several detailed, intelligent reviews from informed people who write cogently and persuasively. I find myself in agreement with most of what has been said already and even appreciate the reasons why the "Voice Lover" awards only three tepid stars; much of what he says is true. This leaves me less to say, other than to comment on a few issues. I agree that the sound is a bit woolly and lacking definition; it's not at all bad for a live recording but not as clear as other comparable live sets such as the 1970 Vienna performance conducted by Stein, the 1972 Metropolitan broadcast conducted by Molinari-Pradelli (both with Corelli and in clean mono), or, above all for live sound, the 1992 La Scala set with Pavarotti, conducted by Muti - but the latter is only the four act version. There is no doubt that the singing, playing and conducting here is first rate but perhaps the muddy sound contributes to a certain lack of sparkle; just occasionally there is a hint of dullness in the proceedings. However, I don't think I have heard Freni sing better; her beautiful lirico-spinto soprano is ideal for conveying the quiet desperation of the hapless Elisabetta. She manages to suggest "les larmes dans la voix" without ever sounding maudlin and she has sufficient power to phrase broadly and grandly. Carreras is in his best pre-1980 form, plangent and affecting, although his reluctance to sing quietly and a tendency to push might be pointing forward to future difficulties.Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
A fine memento of what must have been a great evening at La Scala 6 Sept. 2009
By Ralph Moore - Published on Amazon.com
It's a pleasure to come late to an opera recording and find already posted on Amazon.com several detailed, intelligent reviews from informed people who write cogently and persuasively. I find myself in agreement with most of what has been said already and even appreciate the reasons why the "Voice Lover" awards only three tepid stars; much of what he says is true. This leaves me less to say, other than to comment on a few issues. I agree that the sound is a bit woolly and lacking definition; it's not at all bad for a live recording but not as clear as other comparable live sets such as the 1970 Vienna performance conducted by Stein, the 1972 Metropolitan broadcast conducted by Molinari-Pradelli (both with Corelli and in clean mono), or, above all for live sound, the 1992 La Scala set with Pavarotti, conducted by Muti - but the latter is only the four act version. There is no doubt that the singing, playing and conducting here is first rate but perhaps the muddy sound contributes to a certain lack of sparkle; just occasionally there is a hint of dullness in the proceedings. However, I don't think I have heard Freni sing better; her beautiful lirico-spinto soprano is ideal for conveying the quiet desperation of the hapless Elisabetta. She manages to suggest "les larmes dans la voix" without ever sounding maudlin and she has sufficient power to phrase broadly and grandly. Carreras is in his best pre-1980 form, plangent and affecting, although his reluctance to sing quietly and a tendency to push might be pointing forward to future difficulties. Obratsova really is such a ham; that big, booming voice is suggestive more of a harridan than a seductress who could have caught the eye of a refined, sensitive monarch, but her voice is undeniably handsome and thrilling in a crude kind of way - and she can actually sing all the notes, unlike some Ebolis (although she runs out of breath at the climax of "O don fatale"). Nesterenko is not especially idiomatic as the Grand Inquisitor; he goes through a strange, strained, semi-parlando patch in the famous exchange with Philip and pales beside interpreters such as Talvela or Hines. Cappuccilli is as he always is: dependable and nobly long-breathed without any special insights or beauty of tone - and as with Obratsova, there is more than a whiff of ham about some of his artistic choices - though the audience likes him. Ghiaurov successfully reprises his most famous role but you can hear him sing just as well in several comparable recordings, especially the studio Solti set.

In short, for reasons of sound and the performances of individual artists, I am happy to have this La Scala recording as the most complete five Act version of "Don Carlo" available (including the great extended ensemble lamenting Rodrigo in Act 4, using the same music as in the "Requiem"), but more as an adjunct to other sets. It does not replace favourite recordings such as those mentioned above, the Giulini, the Haitink, the live Salzburg Karajan performance or even the two old Santini studio recordings.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Pleasant performance 15 Sept. 2005
By Voice Lover - Published on Amazon.com
The primary reason for having this recording is because it is as complete a performance of Don Carlo as you are going to find. This is either good or bad depending upon your on ideas of how it should be performed. I want the 5 act version myself, but adding on the numerous sections that Verdi himself cut makes the opera overly long and ungainly in my opinion.

As a performance I do not find that it has the vitality of many other recordings. It seems to drag and lose momentum in many sections. The singers are good but not outstanding. Both Carreras and Ghiaurov are first rate and if you want Carreras, get this one and not the Karajan. I don't find either Freni's or Cappuccilli's voices or characterizations to be anything special - there are many finer recordings of these parts to be found elsewhere. Personally, I enjoyed Obratsova - nice voice and singing. Nesterenko is the least interesting and least effective of any Inquisitor I've ever heard.

For my tastes, the studio recordings of Don Carlo under Solti and Giulini remain my prime choices along with the video of the French version under Pappano.
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