on 8 November 2011
I'm glad to read two favouable reviews of this recording of Verdi's masterpiece - it is thrilling. I bemoan the loss of Ettore Bastianini who was lined up to sing Jago. It must have seemed like deja vu for the cast after they recorded it a few years earlier under Erede (a recording that also has great merit, and very close sound).
Karajan really pushes the Italians to their limit and the VPO sounds fantastic. I have the earlier CD edition so I can't comment on the sound of this remaster - it's wonderful on the earlier boxed set.
With all the various reviews of many fine Otello recordings - you gotta say... there is only one rendition of "Esultate" that puts you in no doubt that a masculine, self-confident, warrior has just made his entrance - and that's Mario del Monaco.
on 3 December 2008
I've always loved this recording from when I owned an original set of LP pressings. Mario del Monaco had the perfect Otello voice, and if Tebaldi sounds a little too formidable to be pushed around like that by her husband, and Protti doesn't score all the interpretative points of some other Iagos on disc, it's still a wonderful version, not least for Karajan's incisive conducting and Decca's splendiferous "you-are-there" sound-stage.
This is where a slight disappointment comes in. The latest remastering sounds too clinical, lacking in scale, depth and warmth.
It also exposes some tape edits I hadn't previously noticed.
It's accurate and clean, and you're brought face to face with the singers as never before, but something's been lost in the processing.
Far better to seek out a second-hand copy of Decca's previous ADRM re-master, which sounds warmer and more atmospheric.
on 5 January 2011
I agree with another opinion that it is a bit bright in the re mastering. However the drama is astonishing. The first half shows the immpecable orchestral playing but DVD 2 is a force that runs the opposition, especially the much flaunted Domingo/Zeffirelli, into the ground. For people buying the traditional operatic merry go round Otello is a bit obscure but they are missing an amazing experience. I have 100s of CDs and this is the most dramatic by far. This recording started my Karajan pilgimage and how disappointed I am. Beethoven Symphonies etc are a diversion. The Freni Pavarotti Boheme is aweful, Falstaff fantastic ( which one I cant find it). But even if you too see failures in Karajan, especially the later ones when he has lost his exuberance, give this a try....
My recommendation loses a star only because it is too bright on all but the best CD players. But a plus is that the Decca recording has many details that are truly amazing ( eg the opening storm is not purely orchestral). Del Monaco and Tebaldi are heroic totally beyond modern interpretaions.