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Mozart: Don Giovanni
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Krips, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Mozart: Don Giovanni
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (17) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #3

A gifted conductor, Josef Krips returned to the Vienna Opera just after World War II (as a Jew, he had had to leave in 1938), and renewed its tradition of Mozartian performance. Many of the finest qualities of this 1955...  more »

      
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All Artists: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Josef Krips, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Anton Dermota, Cesare Siepi, Fernando Corena, Hilde Gueden, Kurt Boheme, Lisa Della Casa, Suzanne Danco, Walter Berry
Title: Mozart: Don Giovanni
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Decca
Original Release Date: 1/1/1955
Re-Release Date: 6/13/2000
Album Type: Box set, Original recording remastered
Genre: Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830)
Number of Discs: 3
SwapaCD Credits: 3
UPC: 028946638927

Synopsis

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A gifted conductor, Josef Krips returned to the Vienna Opera just after World War II (as a Jew, he had had to leave in 1938), and renewed its tradition of Mozartian performance. Many of the finest qualities of this 1955 studio recording emanate from him and his players--the tempi are well judged and the musicianship marvelous. The singing is less consistent. The lightweight Belgian soprano Suzanne Danco is underwhelming as Donna Anna, while the skilled baritone Walter Berry is again too slight for the bass part of Masetto. Even the lovely Lisa Della Casa--who sang Elvira regularly onstage--often sounds challenged by the role here, despite lovely moments. Italian Cesare Siepi is a bass Giovanni (rather than the expected baritone), and though this too throws the vocal balance out of kilter, he's a charmer, all right. Fernando Corena's Leporello and Hilde Güden's Zerlina are both topnotch, Anton Dermota's Ottavio cool but conscientious. This is an excellent memento of Krips, but a better all-around and similarly vintage option is Carlo Maria Giulini's EMI recording from 1959, still arguably the most satisfying account of the opera. --George Hall

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CD Reviews

The best I've heard
S. Greer | FL, USA | 10/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I compare this to my previous favorite set: The Covent Garden/Colin Davis version with Wixell, Arroyo, Te Kanawa, et al.

Regarding the men: this set beats the Davis version flat. Siepi is in better voice and projects a richer character than Wixell. Corena as Leporello matches Davis's Ganzarolli note for note, but Corena takes the upper hand for his greater musicalality and sensitivity as an actor. The young Walter Berry does a fine job in the shoes of Masetto. Both he and Richard van Allen of the Davis set are fine. Same for the respective Comendatores. As for the part of Don Ottavio, Stuart Burrows of the Davis set wins. His voice is simply velvetine. But Dermota of this set does a fine job and is convincing as Ottavio.

Now, regarding the women: There is no way, so far as I can tell, to best the trio of Arroyo, Te Kanawa, and Freni in the female roles. Danco, Della Casa, and Guden on this set do well, but are flattened by the sheer perfection of the latter gathering. However - they are worth a listen, because their sounds come to your ears from a different world of singing: the older, more elegant, now-vanished Post-war Viennese world. Their voices fit well with those of their male counterparts and with the baton of Joseph Krips. They are great in context.

On Joseph Krips himself: He is the perfect Mozart conductor. I have heard Guilini, Davis, Marriner - others. None so far has approached the perfection of Krips's direction. His tempos are logical throughout, and his control of accents and dynamics is superlative. Even if all the singers had voices of mush, and half the orchestra were a half step off the pitch, I would still recommend that you pay full price just for the conducting.

But, since the singers perfrom splendidly (the men gloriously - the women, very well), and the VPO moves without fault from curtain to curtain, this is the set to get. You won't regret a note."
The More Tasteful Krips
Geno Palilla | U.S. | 09/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Although Guilini's recording is of better 'sound' quality, it lacks the taste and musicality of Krips' and Furtwangler's recordings. One can't simply judge a recording by its sound, for that is completely separate than the actual quality of the musicianship. If one is to listen to Joseph Hoffman recordings and say they think Kissin's recordings show his equal, this is an obvious mistake of confusing quality musicianship with sound.
Guilini seems to lead the music towards elegance, knowing this is what will please the masses, who for the most part are without taste. In Don Giovanni, there are elements surpassing elegance, which require a sensibility that has once forgotten elegance and become divine. Mozart's music remains beautiful in Guilini, but it lacks that effort or gift of originality that Krips inspires in his musicians and singers. I think Krips recording brings moments of Don Giovanni alive, as Mozart might want them. I think Guilini's atmosphere is not capable of Krips' freedom. I've said enough I think."
Completely disagree on sound
cdsullivan@massed.net | 10/29/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I had the Giulini for a long time. It was so good that I resisted buying another set for a long time. Yet I'm finding I like Krips more than Giulini. I disagree about the sound. The Decca Legends Sound is far better than EMI's Great Recordings remastering."