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Don Giovanni Box set


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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 Aug. 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B000002A4M
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 722,389 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Don Giovanni: Ouvertura
2. Don Giovanni - Act One: N. 1 Introduzione - 'Notte e giorno fatiicar'
3. Don Giovanni - Act One: Recitativo - Leporello, ove sei?'
4. Don Giovanni - Act One: Recitativo - 'Ah del padre in periglio' - N. 2 Recitativo Accompagnato E Duetto
5. Don Giovanni - Act One: Recitativo - 'Orsu, spicciati presto'
6. Don Giovanni - Act One: N. 3 Aria, - 'Ah chi mi dice mai' - Recitativo - 'Chi e la?... Stelle! Che vedo!'
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Don Giovanni - Act One: Recitatvio: 'Io deggio ad ogni patto'
2. Don Giovanni - Act One: N. 11 Aria: 'Fin ch 'han dal vino'
3. Don Giovanni - Act One: Recitativo: 'Masetto: senti un po'!'
4. Don Giovanni - Act One: N. 12 Aria: 'Batti, batti, o bel Masetto'
5. Don Giovanni - Act One: Recitativo: 'Guarda un po' come seppe'
6. Don Giovanni - Act One: N. 13 Finale: 'Presto, presto pria ch'ei venga'
See all 23 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Don Giovanni - Act Two: N. 21b Recitativo accompagnato ed Aria (KV 540c): 'In quali eccessi, o Numi' - 'Mi tradi qull'alma ingrata'
2. Don Giovanni - Act Two: Recitativo: 'Ah ah ah ah, questa e buona'
3. Don Giovanni - Act Two: N. 22 Duetto 'O statua gentilissima'
4. Don Giovanni - Act Two: Recitativo: 'Calmatevi, idol mio'
5. Don Giovanni - Act Two: N. 23 Recitativo accompagnato e Rondo: 'Crudele!' - 'Non mi dir, bell'idol mio' - Recitativo: 'Ah, si segua il suo passo'
6. Don Giovanni - Act Two: N. 24 Finale: 'Gia la mensa e preparata'
See all 8 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

Recorded live at the 1956 Salzburg Festival, this is one of the great Don Giovannis on disc. Why? Look at the cast list--the top Mozartians of the 1950s in their prime. Cesare Siepi was THE Don of his generation, a carefree rake with a glorious bass voice. Fernando Corena, for all his stage mugging, was made for Leporello. Elisabeth Grummer's powerful Donna Anna reminds us of her shameful neglect by recording companies. Lisa Della Casa's Elvira is beautifully sung and characterized. Leopold Simoneau was the best lyric tenor of the era; his sweet-voiced Ottavio is unforgettable. But the real hero is Dimitri Mitropoulos, who leads a performance of great intensity, yet never breaks the classic frame. --Dan Davis

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mhr on 25 April 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a historic live recording of a performance at the Salzburg Festival in July 1956. After the untimely death of Furtwaengler in 1954, Mitropoulos was chosen as one of the short-term replacements by the festival organisers to fill the vacancy. Although he was not noted as a Mozartian before, he signed up to conduct Don Giovanni in 1956 - the bicentenary of Mozart's birth. (Karajan assumed control in Vienna and Salzburg soon afterwards.)

It must be said at once that this is a really wonderful performance. Mitropoulos's conducting is masterly. Vocally, there is no weakness in the cast: all the roles are ideally cast and the singers are first-rate. The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performs with exceptional elan.

One of the stars of this performance is Cesare Siepi. He has a seductive voice that perfectly suits the hero's image. The role of Leporello is sung by Fernando Corena marvellously: he has a gift for comedy. Lisa della Casa's portrayal of Donna Elvira is excellent - at once imperious from anger for the Don's betrayal and tender for her unrequited love for him. Her voice is radiantly beautiful. Just listen to a trio in the scene of seduction by the Don - "Ah! taci, ingiusto core" (Be still, fickle heart) in Act II. It is not surprising that she was one of the stars in Vienna and Salzburg for the roles in Mozart's and Richard Strauss's works during the 1950s and 60s. Elisabeth Gruemmer is an ideal Donna Anna with her sweet timbre.

Among other singers, Leopold Simoneau sings the role of Don Ottavio marvellously: he is a really elegant legato tenor. Rita Streich is a very good coloratura soprano, although her voice is slightly too trilly. Her characterisation of the coquettish Zerlina is very good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A Live Don Giovanni. 27 Mar. 2002
By John Austin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mozart's operas were performed and recorded everywhere in the year of his bicentenary, 1956. This recording made by the Austrian Radio of a live performance given at the Salzburg Festival that year had to wait 28 years to be issued. When issued, it was rapturously reviewed in magazines like the "Gramophone", and has featured amongst the top recommendations ever since.

Presiding is the conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, successor at Salzburg to Furtwaengler, before his own death in 1960. He leads an athletic, well-paced performance. If tempi are occasionally slow, they are nevertheless true to Mozart's wish that the opera be presented as a "drama in a joking style".

As for the cast, well, if they included the best of their era then, they now rank as a matchless ensemble! If anyone excels, it might be the glorious Elisabeth Grümmer and the mellifluous Leopold Simoneau as Anna and Ottavio. Just when you are wondering how the singing might be better, Gottlob Frick makes his final entry, at Don Giovanni's supper, as the Commendatore, crowning the night with majesty.

And the recording quality? Anyone considering purchasing a 1956 monaural recording will be glad to know that the quality here is some of the best of its time. True, there are stage bumps and clatterings to be heard, and ensemble isn't always perfect here and there, but always the voices and orchestra remain in clear focus and comfortable perspective. The benefits of catching a performance live (July 24th 1956), far outweigh these drawbacks. Applause is not edited out. An avalanche of applause is heard after Donna Anna's first aria, and occasionally thereafter. The effect is conducive to listening enjoyment rather than detrimental.

And if you already have a "Don Giovanni" in your collection? I urge you to consider adding this one. After all, there is no greater music to be heard anywhere, and Da Ponte's libretto and his characters are amongst the best in the annals of opera! Duration: 2 hours 55 minutes. Libretto not included.
45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
Mitropoulus -- a great and under-rated conductor. 29 Dec. 1999
By smarmer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Is Don Giovanni the greatest opera ever? I think so, though The Magic Flute or The Marriage of Figaro or La Traviata or La Boheme are also legitimate contenders. Still, for an opera which combines gravitas and humor, the dark and the light, one would be hard pressed to find better. That is why I have several performances of this outstanding work. My vote for the greatest performance goes to Giulini on EMI. The version which I believe is most exciting is an air check of a live performance in 1938 with Bruno Walter and Ezio Pinza, but unfortunately the sound is so poor that I cannot recommend it to anyone except the most fanatic listener. Of the modern recordings, I don't recommend Muti. I think his tempos are off, and his singers, who are usually good, don't click on that performance. Davis has a version on Philips which is pretty good but not that inspiring for me. So now let's turn to this recording. Actually we need to consider the two (or should I say three) great Salzburg versions of the 1950s -- the wonderful and dark versions by Furtwangler and the bright version by Mitropoulus. Each one has its virtues. You will not likely get a more serious -- even grave -- version than Furtwangler, especially his 1950 version on EMI. What a contrast then to the Mitropoulus version which emphasizes the fun Don Giovanni and Leporello have. Donna Elvira is tragic for Furtwangler, comic for Mitropoulus. This is ironic, for Furtwangler is a revered master while Mitropoulus was persecuted later in his career (for his homosexuality) and has been virtually forgotten. By the way, Furtwangler himself is a very complex character whose role in German culture and for the Nazi party is the subject of several excellent books. I tend to believe Menuhin that Furtwangler was personally decent but allowed himself to be used, but that is for another review. My recommendation is to start with the Giulini version. If you love this opera as much as I do, get one of the Furtwangler recordings and the Mitropoulus version, and listen to both to expand and deepen your appreciation of the dark and light sides of this masterpiece.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Great Performance. 11 Aug. 2000
By Michael Newberry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love this recording of this Salzburg live performance. The three sopranos, Grummer, della Casa, and Streich are in fantastic voice, they don't sound the same, and they are deliciously feminine. They are right on the money in all the arias! The lyric tenor, Simoneau, has hauntingly beautiful pianissimi. And Don Giovanni of Siepi, simply tosses off the compelling, erotic, and glorious phrases as if they were "sweet nothings." And the greatest artist of them all for that evening is the conductor, Dimitri Mitropoulos. Every note is throbbing with life! The sound is quite good. Bravi.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Magical. 2 Dec. 2007
By Haas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a superlative 'Don Giovanni' and one of my favorite live recordings of an opera, but it may not be your first choice for the "Don" on disc. Or could it? Mitropoulos is stunning throughout: he takes over where Furtwangler left off, and leads the Wiener Philharmoniker with admirable finesse and showmanship. The cast is one of the finest ever assembled, rivaled only by Giulini's crew for EMI. This 1956 performance was a brilliant night of opera's golden age, preserved here for anyone who loves great music. If you want stereo sound, look elsewhere; if you want the most exceptional Mozart singing of any era, the buck stops here. Essential.

Siepi isn't my favorite Don (he isn't my favorite Figaro, either), but I daresay nobody knows this opera or the title role better than he. His famously masculine, excessively brash characterization is nicely captured here. Fernando Corena was quite popular among Viennese operagoers in the 1950s, and acts the part of Leporello with understated spirit and charm (he's better in Krips's studio version, though); Frick is ideal in every way for Il Commendatore, sturdier here than you'd expect for a live recording; Walter Berry is a worthy addition, singing the rather thankless role of Masetto with ease. The gold star performance, however, must be given to Leopold Simoneau, who is quite simply the most perfect Mozartian tenor who ever lived: his subtle, simple, elegant singing is beyond compare, his agility with text extraordinary, as if he's really thinking the thoughts in the moment -- topped off with stirring pianissimos -- live in the opera house! -- I melt alongside the audience's thunderous applause. The two famous Ottavio arias are totally overwhelming and alone worth the price of this set.

Lisa della Casa is lovely as Elvira, and her portrayal is much better than it was for Krips's 1954 studio set. Streich is spot-on as Zerlina, somewhere in between Hilde Gueden's regal perfection and Audrey Mildmay's quirky provincialness. My favorite, though, is Elisabeth Grummer as the all-around best Donna Anna on disc. She's in sliiightly better voice for Furty in '53, but she's no less involved here. And what singing! She's a rare gem of golden 1950s and I love, love, love her.

The sound is mostly satisfactory but it can get in the way (you'll get over it!), so beginners should be wary: at the end of the day this is an ideal SECOND choice. For me, first choice is the (aforementioned) Giulini on EMI, recently re-released as a GROC. Lots of jaded opera buffs put it down for the sake of being contradictory, but it's a luminous performance that belongs in every opera collection. For an unruly departure from the norm, check out Harding's 1999 version with the electric Peter Mattei. Let's not forget the vintage 1954 Krips (especially if you love some of the cast members featured here, as I do -- and a pity, as always, that Grummer isn't in the studio). But this Mitropoulos is something extra special. Few opera recordings take you for such a splendid ride: back to the grand stylishness of the 1950s and the Salzburg festival.

You should own several recordings of this famously funny and frightening opera, and please make sure this is one of them! A tremendous achievement!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
MITROPOULOS' DON GIOVANNI 29 Dec. 2000
By JORGE ALONZO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
THIS RECORDING IS AMAZING! ITS ONE OF THOSE FEW RECORDINGS, IN ALL GENRES OF MUSIC, THAT AFFECTS YOU AT EACH LISTEN JUST AS IT DID THE FIRST TIME. FROM TOP TO BOTTOM THE CAST IS WONDERFUL. SIEPI'S DON IS ONE THAT IS BOTH VICIOUS AND SENSUAL. CORENA'S LEPORELLO, WHITH HIS BEAUTIFUL, FULL BASS, IS THE PERFECT FOIL TO THE DON. ALL THE PRINCIPALS ARE EXCELLENT, HOWEVER TAKE SPECIAL NOTE OF SIMONEAU'S OTTAVIO. USUALLY THE WEAKEST OF THE SINGERS IN RECORDINGS, THIS OTTAVIO IS THE BEST ONE THAT I HAVE HEARD, ON DISC AND IN PERFORMANCE. HIS SINGING IN "DALLA SUA PACE" AND THE SMALL DUET WITH GRUMMER'S DONNA ANNA IN THE VERY LAST SCENE IS LEAVES YOU WANTING MORE. ALTHOUGH THE SOUND ISNT THE BEST, MITROPOULOS' VENNA PHILHARMONIC PERFECTLY COMPLIMETS THE SINGERS. THERE ARE RECORDINGS WITH BIGGER NAME CONDUCTORS AND SINGERS, BETTER SOUND AND PACKAGING, HOWEVER THIS IS CLEARLY THE BEST.
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