This recording magnificently captures the sense of drama within Don Carlo (even although it is not the full 5 act version - unfortunately!) and documents some of the most magnificent singing of this work. von Karajan has the Berliner Philharmoniker under a tight rein and inspires them to pour out a magnificent and luxurious carpet of sound and bring this performance alive. All of the singers are unequalled in their roles and each leave their own unique stamp. Carreras, full of fervor and impetuousness as the ardent, young Don Carlo, sings in a fresh, unstrangled voice with a clean tone while Mirella Freni, tackling one of the heavier roles that many doubted she could successfully portray, uses her incomparable italianate voice veiled with the right amount of morbidezza to convey Elisabetta's anguish and torment over her forbidden love. However, the real scene stealer is Agnes Baltsa's high voltage portrayal of the scheming, jealous Eboli. Baltsa, at the outset of international stardom, sails through technical demands of her role with unrivalled virtuosity and turns out a viscerally exciting "O don fatale" using her dark-veiled voice most effectively. Piero Cappuccilli and Ruggero Raimondi are no less remarkable in their characters. Cappuccilli is completely overwhelming as Rodrigo and we can almost feel the tension during his duet with Filippo II while Raimondi's dark-hued King is one of the most noble on disc. There are also some interesting names in the cast - Edita Gruberova, Barbara Hendricks and Jose van Dam all appear (early on in their careers) in the smaller parts. All in all, this is a fantastic recording and should be a strong first choice for those who are looking for a 'performance' of Verdi's masterpiece.