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Verdi:Don Carlo [DVD] 
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Don Carlo (2 Dvd)
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Top Customer Reviews
The image is very good on the whole, not excellent, but better than most. Now for the cast :
Luciano Pavarotti may have a big voice, but on stage is totally unconvincing as the young rebel prince. Placido Domingo, on the new DGG release from the Metropolitan Opera in 1983 is by far superior.
Samuel Ramey is a superb Philip, by far the best so far on DVD, hard to surpass. He portrays the tormented King with great emotion and some incredible singing.
Daniela Dessi, is a good Elizabetta, adequate for the role, but nowhere as good as Freni on the new DGG release from the Metropolitan Opera in 1983.
Paolo Coni is a very good Rodrigo, very well sung and very well acted.
Luciana D'Intino is an excellent Eboli and Alexander Anisimov has the vocal power to deliver the role of the Inquisitor more than adequately.
Riccardo Muti conducts La Scala orchestra with great precision and emotion.
Since it appears that Covent Garden has no visual record of their legendary 1958 Visconti production of Don Carlos, this is then probably as good as we are ever likely to get on DVD.
Pavarotti was at the end of his stage career here, and whilst vocally he still has that distinctive warm tone, physically he is unengaged and unengaging - hardly moving for most of his appearances except to enter or leave the stage (it was around this year that I saw him in Ballo in Maschera at Covent Garden when he had oxygen cylinders secreted around the set for a crafty breather mid-Act).
Daniella Dessi is in good voice but rather passionless; Sam Ramey is quite unconvincing yet vocally strong as Philip - in fact it is only really Luciana D'Intino's rather theatrical and melodramatic Eboli (at odds with the others' style of performance) that brings the recording to life and makes it worth keeping in my collection - although it is a gift of a role in which I've yet to see a mezzo fail to bring the house to raptures after O Don Fatale.
Muti's conducting is rather erratic - at times too ponderous, at others feeling rather rushed, seemingly in a hurry to get to the next interval. Zeferelli's direction appears non-existent at times, the singers all tend to 'stand and deliver' which, considering the hefty layers of fabric and costume they're carrying, is hardly surprising.Read more ›
If you are not familiar with the opera, its one of Verdi's best, and though its true Pavarotti is no great actor [wisely underplaying the madness of Carlos, rather than going for the full scenery shredding version he might have done] he sings beautifully and sensitively and the performance in his voice carries the day.
We rented it first, and ended up buying it to see again .
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good version and I'm pleased that I acquired it, but I think that there are better performances out there.Published 11 months ago by Charles Taylor
sumptuous production very well sung (men better than women) shame its the 4 act version
and not the 5 act. Read more