Top critical review
The Culshaw-Karajan 'AIDA' Production produces a super-sonic-fascist-frisson
on 15 March 2017
This is all about selling a Supersonic John Culshaw Production, and has absolutely nothing to do with actual music making whatsoever. This is a Sonic Aida and all about noise-reproduction not music-making: the first thing the critics go on about is the recording since there is nothing worthy to mention regarding either the singing or the conducting. Furthermore, Karajan conducts Verdi like Wagner and everything is far too heavy and too mannered and too laboured. The Vienna Philharmonic simply cannot play Verdi and have absolutely no rapport with the score. If you want to hear how Aida should be conducted, go for Toscanini; or for vocalists in Aida, then go for the Callas, del Monaco, Dominguez (Mexico City, 1951). This over-hyped Karajan-Culshaw supersonic-production is an ugly experience upon the ears emanating a sort of empty-loud fascistic-frisson.
But the only good thing about this 'recording' is that the orchestra is placed far forward in relation to the singers giving them prominence over the vocalists (which always infuriates those opera queens who can't hear their divas above the orchestra and who inanely fetsihise the voice over the orchestra always applauding over the orchestra which they wrongly consider as mere accompaniment, mere background music).