14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Spawling but magnificent in parts...,
This review is from: Verdi: Don Carlo (Audio CD)
Don Carlo is here presented in the full 5 Act Italian version and this performance is under the inspired direction of Carlo Maria Giulini who had celebrated the 'new' Covent Garden centenary with this opera in 1958. The cast then was different, but the Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus remain, and they're on cracking form. This cast is a collection of megastars of the time (recorded in 1970), mostly at full throttle and very impressive indeed, mostly. Milnes as Posa is wonderfully impassioned and Italianate, and Shirley Verrett as Eboli gobbles up the scenery - tremendously exciting. I'm less convinced by Domingo's Carlo, much as I love him usually: here he seems strained throughout. Caballe produces the trademark pianissimi to lovely effect, but otherwise I find her engagement with the role of Elisabetta less than fully committed - a little pale and unimaginative.
The auto da fe scene is gloriously dramatic and red-blooded and the orchestra are thrillingly resonant. Giulini really has the measure of this difficult score, which can tend towards patchiness in terms of dramatic cohesiveness. Here, however, we are in the hands of a master who has the music in his bones. I would have gone for 5 stars but for the reservations above. Sound-wise, you need have no qualms about the recording date: it's as brilliant and sonorous as anything they can do today.
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Initial post: 13 Jan 2011 20:49:06 GMT
A Pedant says:
Everyone's entitled to his opinion, Guy, but I don't hear Caballe the same way as you do on this recording. Her performance is quite simply one of the greatest exhibitions of singing ever put onto record, fully up with her EMI Aida. To illustrate what I mean, listen to her sing from "che avviene, o ciel?" in the Act 4 quartet, the Act 2 aria or the most imaginative Tu che le vanita I've ever heard (which is saying something). There is pianissimo aplenty but it fits to my ears with the score and an exquisite sensibility in incarnating it. There is also a full dynamic range deployed: her fortissimo isn't on the scale of some Verdi sopranos but she doesn't shirk anything. As you will have guessed, I greatly admire her but don't always react like this to her recordings.
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