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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong cast, traditional costumes and scenery., 12 May 2014
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This review is from: Don Carlo: Salzburg Festival (Pappano) [Blu-ray] [2014] (Blu-ray)
Verdi wrote this five act opera with a French Libretto for the Paris opera. Premiere 1867. Then there are three versions of this opera, the French 1867 version, the revised Italian four Act Don Carlo 1884, plus the Modena version 1886. This version is the 1884 version with Act One reinstated, as well as the original beginning of Act 2. To complicate matters the French opera was simply translated into Italian, and then the changes were made. There is an even newer edition completed in 1980 by Ricordi, and others floating around as well.

However, although this Salzburg festival Don Carlos is in Italian, it is exactly the same as the French five act version. I own the DVD of the French version made in 1996 at the Theatre du Chatelet, Paris, with Alagna, Hampson, Mattila and Meier, Orchestre du Paris cond Pappano. There is no difference. I mentioned this, because some of the readers of this review, might wonder if this new Don Carlos is the four Act version. However,the Don Carlo filmed in 2008, follows the five act Modena version. This opera is sung in Italian, with Villazon, Poplavskaya, Keenlyside, Halfvarson and Lloyd. Royal opera house orchestra conducted by Pappano again. I know. I own it as well. It would have helped,if The French and new Salzburg Don Carlos mentioned which edition they used.

This version was filmed at the 2013 Salzburg festival with its large stage. This Bluray Don Carlos like the other two, have traditional staging and costumes. The scenery is minimalist. The stage is not cluttered. Act one has a light blue background, indicating snow, also orange windows to give the impression that the singers are outside. There are a pile of logs, and it snows during the act. When the camera shows the stage as seen from the back of the theater, the pale blue with the pale tones of the peasants clothes, it makes for a stunning beautiful scene. Act two. A light coloured Cobalt blue background indicating a Monastery. Off center a Statue of Charles V with Monks surrounding it. Hampson and Kaufman are wearing black costumes of the period. Scene 2. Green backdrop subtly representing trees and a pond, sheltered by a large tree. The women are dressed in black with different coloured flowers in their hair. Act 3. The Ball. A tent with lanterns of the period. Moon shining from above. Elisabeth at the opening of Act one, wears a long red coat, with green embroidery across her chest and down her pink long flowery dress. There is a green feather in her hat. The green and red are complimentary colours, as are the Blue scenery and orange windows in Act One. Knowing this makes your opera going more enjoyable. This means the opera has been well thought out.

The Vienna Philharmonic is conducted by Antonio Pappano. I need say no more. For when he is involved in the production, it will be good for he gets the tempi just right, as he is a singers conductor. The last duet with Don Carlos, Kaufmann and Elizabeth, Anja Harteros in Act five sums up the production. They both bring out the best in each other. Kaufmann seems to float his notes. Exaterina Semenchuk is the best Eboli out of the three versions of this opera. Meier was having an off night in the Paris version. Phillip the second, Matti Salminen who was Hunding in the Chereau ring, has still got his rich Bass voice. If you want to be a singer, become a Mezzo, Bass or Baritone, they go on for ever. The Grand Inquisitor is Eric Halfvarson, who is well inside his part. he should be, this is his third filmed version of the part. Thomas Hampson was in the Paris Don Carlos, and he has been able to make more of the role in this new version. Robert Lloyd is extremely good in his part as Charles V and has been around a long time. Kaufmann is the greatest tenor of his generation. What else is there to say.

So what do I make of this; the third Don Carlos I own. Actually, they are all good. Alagna was the lyrical tenor of his Generation in the Paris production. In the Royal opera house Don Carlos, I like Villazon, but up against Kaufmann there is no contest. As Phillip the second, Furlanetto is the best out of the three. However, Harteros is better in the role of Elizabeth then Mattila, Paris version, but the equal of Marina Poplavskaya, Royal opera house. But what makes me give the nod to Harteros, is her singing with Kaufmann as I have already stated. So each of the Don Carlo's have their strengths and weaknesses. But if you like Kaufmann, I would buy this new version. I hope this review helps.

REGIONS: A.B.C. It states on the back of the Bluray case, Region code 0, WORLDWIDE. Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Korean, Chinese. 16.9. LPCM and DTS HD Master Audio. recorded live. The picture is extremely life like and clear as bluray should be. Booklet with Synopsis.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jun 2014 23:12:35 BDT
DDD says:
The Chatelet edition omits the opening chorus which is strange siince it included the rarely (at that time) duet betwen Carlo and Philip--music that was taken from the Requiem, the Liber Scriptus.

Posted on 10 Oct 2014 17:18:12 BDT
Waldteufel says:
The Chatelet version is not as authentic as its publicity leads one to believe. Quite apart from the omission of the opening chorus, it also omits the ballet but more importantly it inserts the 1872 version of the Philip/Posa duet which is decidedly inferior to the 1884 version. However, it is the 1867 original which should have been performed. It is in any case a hideously ugly production.
The Carlo/Philip duet was not taken from the Requiem but the other way round - and it is the Lacrymosa not the Liber Scriptus.
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Location: Perth-West Australia

Top Reviewer Ranking: 143