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on 3 June 2011
I had problems choosing which recording of this opera I should buy. The Abbado studio (French), the Abbado live, the Karajan studio, the Karajan live, the Solti.
There are good arguments for all of them - Carreras and Baltsa in the Karajan studio, Siepi in the Karajan live, Valentini and the two basses (in best shape and roles) in the Abbado studio, Nesterenko and Price in the Abbado live, Solti in the Solti. (The Solti goes away because of the singers, especially Fischer-Dieskau being plain wrong.)

But fate made me end up with the Giulini. Here I have a Domingo in one of his best roles, a Milnes that is ideal (next to Bastianini) as Posa, a Caballe that has one of the most beautiful voices ever, a Verrett that is full of blood. (Actually it's completely amazing to hear Domingo and Milnes together, even their perfectly balanced vibrati are syncronized!)
And some great orchestra playing from the Covent Garden orchestra. And I get Giulini. OK, his tempi are really slow, but the drama he creates! Not a dull moment during five acts.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 20 January 2013
To suggest that this forty-year-old recording has flaws and is not perhaps the best available is to give hostages to fortune and invite abuse, but true to my convictions, I'll do it anyway and damn the consequences.

Some people like their opera to be first and foremost a matter of the "bella voce" and dramatic tension as an optional bolt-on extra. I usually belong primarily to the first camp as for me quality of voice is paramount but especially in the case of this opera I need a concomitant sense of theatre to be communicated.

There is no doubt that we hear two absolutely stunning voices in their prime in the lead roles but it is equally clear to me that Giulini's staid tempi and concern for the long line to a degree eviscerates the personal and public drama inherent in this masterpiece. I don't think Domingo has ever sung more mellifluously but I don't feel Don Carlo's hysterical pain in the way that Björling, Carreras or Corelli convince me of our weedy hero's torment. Similarly, Caballé is placid and matronly as she spins those fabulous pianissimi tones. The first singer to bring his character to life is Sherrill Milnes in his prime; Raimondi is a skilful bass who somehow frequently convinced us that his light basso cantante was the real thing in Verdi - but it never really was; you have only to listen to Pinza, Christoff or Ghiaurov to confirm this. I enjoy Shirley Verrett's big, forthright Eboli but she is hampered by Giulini's stodgy pacing in her bolero; she is stupendously desperate in the "O don fatale" with a great Top B and good legato - one of the few singers able to encompass the demands of both arias. The supporting cast is adequate although Simon Estes' workaday monk/Carlo Quinto mangles his Italian vowels and hardly realises the potential for frisson in this brief role.

So I cannot bow to received opinion that this is first choice. It is recommendable for the beauty of singing and playing, the nuance and detail in the conducting and, above all, the completeness of the Five Act version which the true "Don Carlos" devotee always demands but Solti Verdi: Don Carlo, Santini (in the rarer, later DG recording Verdi: Don Carlo) and Abbado live in 1977 Don Carlo draw blood while Giulini soothes.
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on 6 April 2013
Beautiful recording that really captures the story. So good, I cannot stop listening. The soloists are magnificent, I highly recommend this, what an absolute bargain
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on 23 April 2013
A very fine recording of an Opera which is not played that often. This is a gentle "no frills" edition which will give pleasure for years to come
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on 10 January 2012
These old war horses have plenty of stamina. A golden age of singing with a cast of great voices. Still good sound for its age and fantastic value.
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on 18 October 2013
I chose this recording due to the singers, primarely Milnes and Domingo... I wasn't disappointed.. absolutely wonderful singing and the orchestra/choir leaves me in tears.... LOVELY!!!
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on 14 July 2013
Spot on. Everything comes together beautifully. You can hear the magic happening between voice and music - forget about who is who and what is what, interpretations, et al and just enjoy letting the opera wash over you to it's final crescendo.
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on 18 June 2014
I received this CD box from Amazon in due time. As I have been traveling a lot since I received the box, I could only listen to the CD more than 6 weeks after I received it. It turned out that CD2 is defect and cannot be played. As I discovered this only after the 30-day return period expired, I am now with a Don Carlo of which I am completely missing act 3. I will buy my CDs next time elsewhere.
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