Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ferenc Fricsay, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau|
Mozart - Don Giovanni / Fischer-Dieskau, Fricsay
Conductor Ferenc Fricsay's firm hand guides this legendary Don Giovanni unerringly toward inevitable damnation and retribution, with quick tempos and a sense of purpose rare in recordings of the opera. As the Don, Dietrich... more »
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Conductor Ferenc Fricsay's firm hand guides this legendary Don Giovanni unerringly toward inevitable damnation and retribution, with quick tempos and a sense of purpose rare in recordings of the opera. As the Don, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau presents a joyless, driven rake. His youthful voice (the recording was made in 1958) is splendid, but the hectoring quality that was later to become a dominant element in his singing style makes "La ci darem la mano" more menacing than seductive, while the Champagne aria becomes a call to arms rather than an invitation to drink. Kohn's Leperello is a dour servant, but the women are quite wonderful. Sena Jurinac is a splendid Donna Anna, generous of voice and characterization, and Irmgard Seefried is a delightful Zerlina. Maria Stader is the big surprise of the set, as her high soprano seems more fitting for Zerlina than Elvira, but she sings with terrific abandon, fiery in her confrontations with the Don and warmly compassionate elsewhere. This was always one of the more interesting takes on Mozart's masterpiece, and it's great to have it back in a transfer--on the DG Originals series--that freshens its early stereo sonics. --Dan Davis
Not perfect, but still the best I've heard
vladb | Brighton, MA USA | 09/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a Mozart Opera fanatic at times can be quite a daunting task, especially faced with such a multitude of available choices :) Of Don Giovanni, which is my favorite of all (thematically speaking, at least), it has been much harder to find the most flawless recording. I was able to zero in on the perfect Figaro (Bohm), Zauberflote (Klemperer) and Cosi (Bohm again), but the Don has proved ever so elusive. Gullini, Davis and Krips, among others, were all lacking something, IMHO. Luckily, I have enough public libraries in my area to be able to sample before purchasing...The Opera itself a cautionary tale for adults, so to speak, a tale of extreme hubris and its consequences. My own interpretation of DG was always that of a dark, demonic, almost DeSadian personification of the unbridled male id. In other words, the Don is no softie - he is a beast, just as the other characters refer to him, and if he is sung by a light, tenor-like voice, it just doesn't ring true to me. Dieskau's casting is as close to the DG I envision as it gets. I find his voice powerful and nuanced - he can be sinister, arrogant, falsely and seductively romantic all at the same time, an astounding range. Just listen to his delivery of "La Ci Darem la Mano", and you'll understand exactly what I mean. The only (minor) issue here is that he sings so boomingly that he almost drowns out the Commendatore in the final scene, making it seem like a meeting of equals. Still, when Dieskau stands up to the big guy with his unrelenting "Parla, parla", it never ceases to produce goosebumps.Another great advantage of Fircsay's version over others is the absolutely superb mix , loud and clear. All the minute subtleties of the music can be heard - not muddled at all - and as a result we get the most spine-tingling Overture I've ever heard. Thus, I fully concur with the previous reviewer on the merits of the orchestra here. It keeps the listeners on the edge of their seats at all times, transports them right into the heart of the story.Allright, now for the less sublime: Maria Stader does sound a bit less graceful than other famous Donna Elviras, but she embodies the hurt and slight madness of her character so well that I don't mind that much. If only Kiri Te Kanawa was present, this recording would indeed be absolutely flawless... And yes, the German cast often pronounces their "qua's" as "kva's", etc, and Kohn, as Leoprello, even manages to glitch up the Catalog aria by one syllable (incidentally, in a reference to his native country :)). But that can be easily overlooked, given the other merits of this undeniably fantastic recording.So if you've been dissatisfied with the Don Giovannis you've heard or own, or are simply curious to explore some interesting and compelling alternatives - I encourage you to seek the Fricsay out - if anything, you will be pleasantly surprised."
A must for Don Giovanni lovers.
YASAR | UK | 06/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is the best amongst the 5 Don Giovanni recordings I have.
It is in Stereo. A rarity in Maria Stader's opera recordings.
Probably Because of Maria Stader I think this is just wonderful.
Do not miss it. Even if you are not a Do Giovanni fan this recording will make you one.
For Me The Second Best Don Giovanni
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 12/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Conductor Ferenc Fricsay has made a terrific Don Giovanni, by far my favorite opera. Although I own several recordings, this one is for me the second best. Coming in at Number 1 is Lorin Maazel's version with Ruggero Raimondi and Kiri Te Kenawa, while Erich Leindorf's version starring Cesare Siepi, Birgit Nilsson and Leontine Price is my third choice. This one is the second best for me. It is right on the money as far as how the opera should sound if you prefer the traditional Don Giovanni. Usually, the "tradition" of Don Giovanni is to have a melodrama sung to beautiful music that can be just at home in a comedy. Mozart's greatest opera is supposed to be Don Giovanni. The shameless, unrepentent libertine is an Enlightenment anti-hero, refusing to change his ways even when the threat of being sent to Hell.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau is regarded as the greatest bass-baritone singers. Without a doubt, he has a beautiful and lyric baritone voice. There is no snarl or sinister note to his portrayal of Don Giovanni, but he gets into the "anti-hero" mood. The Don is after all, only being himself. We as an audience should not root for him because all he does throughout the opera is to attempt to seduce and steal other men's fiancees. But we should admire his spirit and freedom. His greatest flaw is excess and hedonism, which he took too far and abused. This is what I feel Dieskau has in his voice and interpretation, from every recitative to his "Finch'al del vino" aria to his serenade "Vieni Ala Finestra"- everything is sung with a hedonistic pleasure. It is a great portrayal that no one should miss. And that Commandatore/Dinner Scene is incredible !
Meet the women in Don Giovanni's life- Dona Ana, engaged to Don Ottavio, an aristocratic lady whose father is a Commander of the navy. As the opera begins, it's suggested that the Don has attempted to rape Dona Ana. He had sneaked into her bedroom, she confused him for her fiance Don Ottavio. Screaming for help, her father the Commandatore arrives only to duel with the Don and is killed. This very dark deed will come back to haunt the Don and bring him to hell. Dona Ana is distraught and seems never to stop mourning her father, even postponing her marriage to Ottavio. Dona Ana should be sung by a dramatic soprano, with lyric ability or a spinto soprano. It is a diva role and many sopranos have taken it under their belt- Maria Callas, Birgit Nilsson, Leontine Price, Anna Tomosawa Sintow, Edda Moser, Carol Vanness, Beverly Sills and Renee Fleming among others. Sena Jurinac has an astoundingly dramatic and high voice. She gets into the tortured character very well. I really love her performance. Sena Jurinac has had success as the Composer in Strauss Ariadne of Naxos and as Leonora in Fidelio. Zerlina is a peasant girl that the Don attempts to seduce and steal from her fiance Masetto. She is usually a light soprano/soubrette or mezzo soprano, a performance that is light-weight, sweet, clever and charming is suitable. Dona Elvira by far is the most colorful of the women. The soprano singing Elvira on this version is awesome, and by far the greatest interpretor. She is furious, she is vengeful, emotional, torn between her love for the Don and for the hate she has of his wild and reckless life. Dona Elvira has moments that are both dramatic, hysterical as well as beautiful. "Me Tradita Il Ilma Ingrata" you may note is soft and melancholy in comparison to the tirade that is "Fuggi Il Traditore". This is a great album with the perfect cast."