Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra|
Mozart: Don Giovanni
Recorded live at the 1956 Salzburg Festival, this is one of the great Don Giovannis on disc. Why? Look at the cast list--the top Mozartians of the 1950s in their prime. Cesare Siepi was THE Don of his generation, a caref... more »
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Recorded live at the 1956 Salzburg Festival, this is one of the great Don Giovannis on disc. Why? Look at the cast list--the top Mozartians of the 1950s in their prime. Cesare Siepi was THE Don of his generation, a carefree rake with a glorious bass voice. Fernando Corena, for all his stage mugging, was made for Leporello. Elisabeth Grummer's powerful Donna Anna reminds us of her shameful neglect by recording companies. Lisa Della Casa's Elvira is beautifully sung and characterized. Leopold Simoneau was the best lyric tenor of the era; his sweet-voiced Ottavio is unforgettable. But the real hero is Dimitri Mitropoulos, who leads a performance of great intensity, yet never breaks the classic frame. --Dan Davis
Mitropoulus -- a great and under-rated conductor.
Marmez1@aol.com | Los Angeles, CA USA | 12/29/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Is Don Giovanni the greatest opera ever? I think so, though The Magic Flute or The Marriage of Figaro or La Traviata or La Boheme are also legitimate contenders. Still, for an opera which combines gravitas and humor, the dark and the light, one would be hard pressed to find better. That is why I have several performances of this outstanding work. My vote for the greatest performance goes to Giulini on EMI. The version which I believe is most exciting is an air check of a live performance in 1938 with Bruno Walter and Ezio Pinza, but unfortunately the sound is so poor that I cannot recommend it to anyone except the most fanatic listener. Of the modern recordings, I don't recommend Muti. I think his tempos are off, and his singers, who are usually good, don't click on that performance. Davis has a version on Philips which is pretty good but not that inspiring for me. So now let's turn to this recording. Actually we need to consider the two (or should I say three) great Salzburg versions of the 1950s -- the wonderful and dark versions by Furtwangler and the bright version by Mitropoulus. Each one has its virtues. You will not likely get a more serious -- even grave -- version than Furtwangler, especially his 1950 version on EMI. What a contrast then to the Mitropoulus version which emphasizes the fun Don Giovanni and Leporello have. Donna Elvira is tragic for Furtwangler, comic for Mitropoulus. This is ironic, for Furtwangler is a revered master while Mitropoulus was persecuted later in his career (for his homosexuality) and has been virtually forgotten. By the way, Furtwangler himself is a very complex character whose role in German culture and for the Nazi party is the subject of several excellent books. I tend to believe Menuhin that Furtwangler was personally decent but allowed himself to be used, but that is for another review. My recommendation is to start with the Giulini version. If you love this opera as much as I do, get one of the Furtwangler recordings and the Mitropoulus version, and listen to both to expand and deepen your appreciation of the dark and light sides of this masterpiece."
A Live Don Giovanni.
John Austin | Kangaroo Ground, Australia | 03/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mozart's operas were performed and recorded everywhere in the year of his bicentenary, 1956. This recording made by the Austrian Radio of a live performance given at the Salzburg Festival that year had to wait 28 years to be issued. When issued, it was rapturously reviewed in magazines like the "Gramophone", and has featured amongst the top recommendations ever since. Presiding is the conductor Dimitri Mitropoulos, successor at Salzburg to Furtwaengler, before his own death in 1960. He leads an athletic, well-paced performance. If tempi are occasionally slow, they are nevertheless true to Mozart's wish that the opera be presented as a "drama in a joking style". As for the cast, well, if they included the best of their era then, they now rank as a matchless ensemble! If anyone excels, it might be the glorious Elisabeth Grümmer and the mellifluous Leopold Simoneau as Anna and Ottavio. Just when you are wondering how the singing might be better, Gottlob Frick makes his final entry, at Don Giovanni's supper, as the Commendatore, crowning the night with majesty. And the recording quality? Anyone considering purchasing a 1956 monaural recording will be glad to know that the quality here is some of the best of its time. True, there are stage bumps and clatterings to be heard, and ensemble isn't always perfect here and there, but always the voices and orchestra remain in clear focus and comfortable perspective. The benefits of catching a performance live (July 24th 1956), far outweigh these drawbacks. Applause is not edited out. An avalanche of applause is heard after Donna Anna's first aria, and occasionally thereafter. The effect is conducive to listening enjoyment rather then detrimental. And if you already have a "Don Giovanni" in your collection? I urge you to consider adding this one. After all, there is no greater music to be heard anywhere, and Da Ponte's libretto and his characters are amongst the best in the annals of opera! Duration: 2 hours 55 minutes. Libretto not included."
Mozart: Don Giovanni / Mitropoulus, Siepi, Della Casa, Frick
Andrew N Vincenti | Tokyo, Japan | 12/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Absolutely agree with the 2nd reviewer - this is brilliant music making live so you can feel the real excitement. All in all my favourite Don Giovanni and I have five of them! Beats hands down the Gulini one which is in my view horribly over-rated."