Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Blind Boys of Alabama Learn more Fitbit

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

VINE VOICEon 18 August 2011
I have enjoyed this uneven but oddly compelling performance for many years and it's good to finally have it commercially available in much improved sound. That's not to say that it doesn't sound its age in a lack of depth and inevitable moments of odd balance in this live performance, especially between the orchestra and the chorus in the Auto-da-fe scene. Cleaned up, it definitely displays the singers to better advantage. The quirky casting won't be to everyone's taste but if I concentrate on the principals' performances, it's because that's where I feel the value of this set lies. Certainly the value doesn't lie in the presentation. A synopsis, nothing at all about the performance itself, and Irene Dalis's photo as Eboli printed twice, once captioned as "Leonie Rysanek (Elisabetta)"

This broadcast took place two months after previous performances under Solti, with Giorgio Tozzi the only singer carried over, so it's surprising that it hangs together so well under the baton of Kurt Adler. At that time the Met performed the truncated 1883 four-act revision omitting amongst other things the Fontainebleu scene, so the raison d'être for this reissue is presumably the presence of Franco Corelli as Carlo, a role he never recorded commercially. Known for playing overtly romantic heroes, Corelli finds the febrile, neurotic Carlo a surprisingly congenial role - perhaps not so surprising given the singer's allegedly insecure nature. He makes an immediate impact in a desperate "Io l'ho perduto"; even if the text gets pulled about a bit, who could match him for integrating those ringing high notes so successfully into the musical line and maintain this level throughout the performance?

Corelli and Leonie Rysanek are an exciting pairing. Both are artists who live very much in the moment and bring a passionate, erotic thrill to their music, but at this time the Viennese soprano was at her most variable and thrilling vocalising above the stave isn't matched in lower-lying phrases. She is often lovely in Elisabetta's many melancholy moments and though "Tu che le vanita" finds her at her best and cheered to the rafters, there's an awkward cadenza at the end of the aria. As always, she means every word she utters so we know everything about Elisabetta, perhaps less about Verdi.

If Irene Dalis lacks the final ounce of power and richness for Eboli, she is a hugely intelligent singer who knows exactly how to deploy her resources to present a satisfying portrayal, from a speedy but neatly sung, Veil Song to an exciting "O don fatale". On the other hand, Giorgio Tozzi has the power for Philip and he's by no means inexpressive, but he doesn't truly get to the heart of the man. The sheer contrast between the Philip's public, sometime brutal authority and private anguish isn't there for me.

Making his Met debut, Rumanian baritone Nicola Herlea seems determined to make an impact and not be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Met. There are oceans of rich, tone but this Posa remains two dimensional, with little sense of the troubled, idealist.

Finally, as a great admirer of Hermann Uhde, I take no pleasure in saying that by 1964 this outstanding singing actor could no longer do justice to the role of the Grand Inquisitor, though the steely, unyielding fanaticism is brilliantly conveyed. He was only 50 at the time and may already have been in failing health; the following year he suffered a fatal heart attack on stage.

This shouldn't be your first choice for "Don Carlo", but I wouldn't want to be without this set for Corelli, Rysanek and Dalis. If you cherish singers from the era before bland was beautiful, you could do worse than invest in this budget set.
0Comment| 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 26 August 2011
Even allowing for the cuts so often made during this era at the Metropolitan Opera, this is one of the swiftest of the live four Act versions and the sound is really very good for a mono radio broadcast; consequently it gives you a compelling sense of the excitement of the occasion under the experienced baton of Kurt Adler, who had conducted a similarly distinguished cast in this opera in 1955. The cuts - the whole of the Fontainebleau Act, of course, this being the four Act version, plus excisions in the Third Act auto-da fé and the final sublime duet - are all the more regrettable considering that Corelli never made a studio recording of "Don Carlo" but we must be grateful for what we have. It was a favourite opera that saw him through the seventies until he had virtually retired; he clearly identified with the haunted, neurotic Carlos.

The cast features five Met stalwarts in Corelli, Leonie Rysanek, Irene Dalis, Giorgio Tozzi and Hermann Uhde, whereas Posa was distinguished Romanian baritone Herlea's debut role at the Met. Many consider this to be the best of the available live performances of Corelli as Don Carlo, although the 1970 Vienna recording also has much to recommend it in that it has a superlative cast and gives little sign of Corelli's supposed vocal deterioration by this date. Here in 1964, the famous bronze squillo in the tone and the expressive diminuendo are both much in evidence, as is Corelli's artistic licence - which some call sloppiness - and his pronounced lisp, which on the evidence of the duet from"Aida" he made around the same time with Callas seemed particularly pronounced that year. There is an awkward pause just before the Flemish deputies issue their plea to Philip when Corelli missed his cue, then they carry on.

Apart from the expected pre-eminence of Corelli in the eponymous leading role, the special pleasure for me in this performance is Herlea's vibrant, Italianate baritone as Posa. He was evidently determined not to be over-awed either by the occasion or his temperamental tenor colleague and matches Corelli in volume and intensity, sustaining a nobility of line and brilliance of tone which is well nigh perfect for this heroic baritone role. He has splendid top notes and even a good trill. Corelli seems to fear that he is in danger of being upstaged by his stage-mate and consequently throws in a slightly precarious and not very musical high C to conclude their duet in Act 1, "Dio che nell'alma infondere."

Irene Dalis, despite not having the largest or most refulgent of mezzo-sopranos is clearly a very intelligent and able singer who has the resources to manage both the "Veil Song" and "O don fatale" - not always the case with this role. She has a vibrant, smoky, seductive timbre which is ideal and handles the coloratura adeptly and agilely. She is also a good vocal actress who sounds both vindictive then truly remorseful without resorting to over-emoting.

Giorgi Tozzi, who died last May at 88, was originally a baritone and occasionally that shows in a lack of sonorousness in his low notes, such as on the low F at the end of his monologue and some loss of resonance in his soft singing. He is more impressive in louder passages when his steady, imposing tone cuts through the surrounding textures. I find his characterisation of the weary king a little applied and blustery; he too often sounds angry rather than melancholy and thus lacks the massive inwardness found in the Philip of Christoff, Siepi and Ghiaurov. He also as a tendency to drift sharp in the soliloquy but his confrontations with il Grande Inquisitor and Rodrigo are both stirring and dramatic, if not very subtle. Uhde is black and menacing of voice but struggles with his top E and F.

Justino Diaz is noble, steady and implacable as the Friar/Carlo Quinto; it's a part which although brief must not be under-cast if the opening and ending of the opera are to make the required impact.

In my survey of the singers thus far, you will note that I have left Leonie Rysanek till last. This is because I cannot quite decide what I think about her Elisabetta. I am used to the fact that in live performance she usually took a while to warm up and that the strange, hoarse croon in the lower ranges of the voice would ease off as the opera progressed. I continue to be delighted by her shining top notes and the amplitude of the sound she makes but equally irritated by her habitual swoop and scoop in to phrases. The dark colouring and occasional hoarseness in her tone is in many ways redolent of the unrelenting sorrow and suffering undergone by Elisabetta, that most doleful of Verdi heroines. She rises to her last great aria, floating notes exquisitely on "Francia" and "Fontainebleau" and delivers superb top B's and B flats which sound almost disjointed from the main body of her voice. She certainly creates a rounded character and always delivers the text convincingly but listening is not always comfortable when she is "wallowing" into a note. She was always a favourite with the Met audience which responds enthusiastically to all the artists here.

The standard of instrumental playing is variable; neither of the introductions to Acts 3 and 4 constitutes the orchestra's finest hour and intonation can waver alarmingly, but by and large Adler directs a tight ship.

This, alongside the 1968 "Die Walküre", is probably the most desirable issue so far in this Sony Metropolitan series. It certainly represents the best of Corelli in this particular opera but is more than that, in that it enshrines a thrilling performance by a first-rate cast recorded in mono sound so good that one forgets it's almost "historical". There are many good recordings of this opera but none encompasses all its demands and most serious collectors will want several versions of both the four and five Act versions in Italian and the French recording conducted by Pappano. In that context, there is certainly room for this slim and very affordable issue on your shelves.

There is a synopsis and cues but obviously no libretto, this being a budget set.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 14 September 2011
Corelli's pale '70s recordings of the title role (1970 and 1972 in Vienna and at the Met respectively), where he sounds embarrassingly overparted, can in no way compare with this magnificent 1964 Carlo from the Met. Rysanek's Elisabetta is rather matronly, but she's in glorious voice. Dalis - known to us mainly from her Bayreuth Kundry - is a sympathetic Eboli (rightly flirtatious in the Veil Song and unbearably regretful in 'O don fatale'). Uhde (Grand Inquisitor) - another Wagnerian - matches Tozzi (Filippo) note for note: the latter tends to declaim (rather than sing) some of his lines (including 'Ella giammai m'amo'), but it's still a moving characterization. The little-known Herlea sings Posa: not as graceful as (say) Bastianini's, a trifle wobbly and loud but not entirely forgettable. The Monk is sung by the young Diaz (one wishes that he and Herlea had reversed roles). The recording's sound quality is acceptable: good soloist-chorus-orchestra balance. But the cuts are annoying, given the fact that Adler used an almost complete text at the same house nine years earlier (Tucker, Steber, Thebom, Bastianini, and Hines). If you don't have a Corelli CARLO, get this one and ignore his '70s recordings; however, if for any reason (eg Janowitz's Elisabetta or Talvela's Inquisitor) you can't resist the Vienna performance (sonically superior to this one), make sure you don't even touch his 1972 Met CARLO issued on Living Stage (a shameful release, poorly recorded and sung).
33 Comments| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 September 2014
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 12 April 2015
I bought this for Corelli, who is ok in the lead role. The other singers are not strong in particular the famous bass duet has some seriously horrible off tune singing (and this duet is basically the whole point of the opera...). Rysaenk is weak and the conducting stodgy. I have 4/5/6 better versions of this at home, don't buy it
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 January 2015
A gift
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 December 2012
looked forword to this cd but was slightly disappointed recording was very good but it lacked something I could not put my finger on.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)