Have any of you listened to the underrated Solti from the mid-1960s recently? That was my first Don Carlo and -despite this marvellous set- remains my favourite.
Giulini is tremendous, getting deeper into the music...but so is Solti in his eager, in-your-face way. Bergonzi gives one of his best performances here (did he do it on stage? I don't think so), beating (the excellent and imaginative) Domingo hollow. Tebaldi sounds a bit mature for Elizabeth...but so does Caballe; both are good but not the best (try Mattila in Pappano's French version). Fischer-Dieskau yields to Milnes in Italianate ardour, but presents a most interesting character, a Posa who is perhaps closer to Schiller (not that that particularly matters!) Bumbry and Verrett are both terrific; B. more of the Verdian I'll-show-you-that-the-mezzo-role-is-just-as-good-as-the-soprano type; V. softer-grained but also very assertive. Where the Solti really surges ahead is in the casting of the two basses: Ghiaurov having more of the measure of all facets of the role, where the impressive Raimondi is merely fearsome. And Talvela is just the best Inquisitor around! Poor, competent but unimaginative Foiani cannot hold a candle to him!
Try out the Solti; it's excellent...but don't listen to Talvela and Ghiaurov late at night; you'll be dreaming of the Inquisition!