Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart, Carlo Maria Giulini, Philharmonicia Chorus and Orchestra|
Mozart: Don Giovanni
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Eugene F. Fama | Pacific Palisades, CA United States | 03/31/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I've wondered why two versions of this record continue to exist from the same label: a 1997 transfer and this 2002 transfer under the ART, or Abbey Road Transfer technology, part of the "Great Recordings" EMI series. This review is mainly about sound quality. The piece itself is beyond reproach and opens your eyes to Mozart in new ways--so the goal becomes getting the most spacious and finely transferred account, especially in this day of ever-increasing fidelity. The sound impacts how much the record sucks you in and keeps you rapt. In this case, the older (slightly more expensive) version wins out. The new remaster goes a long way toward removing tape hiss. Sometimes it seems like removing tape hiss is the only goal of remastering. Unfortunately, the process used to remove hiss, to my ears, removes other details. It removes some of the "bite" of the recording; sounds are rounded off and deadened. The whole effect is mildly--but perceptibly--muffled. If you recall the way Dolby removed tape hiss in old cassette technology at the expense of overall clarity you'll get the picture. The placement of voices in space and the texture and even the emotional effect of the instruments and ensemble use some of the same sonic range that encompasses tape hiss. Like Dolby, the process removes ambient sounds that give the recording presence and immediacy. The result is recessed and less involving.Personally, I think tape hiss is like a funky smell in your car. It's unappealing in the first few minutes, but sensory adaptation kicks in. Soon you fail to notice it -- especially if you're caught up in performances by Elisabeth Schwartzkopf and Joan Sutherland. It'd be a shame if the full detail of their singing were lost from here on out, and that just for the sake of less tape noise we could never recapture it. Pay a little extra for the older remaster."
The best Don G. for four decades--and still a classic
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Usually the eccentric reviews at Amazon get balanced out, but for some reason there has been a pile-up of oddities here. This classic Don Giovanni has won the highest praise in every musical circle for five decades. The casting is wonderful, every role taken by a world-class singer in prime voice.
Some aspects of the casting are more than a little individual. Waechter is a biting, at times almost vicious Don. He is the opposite of the suave Siepi, who can be heard on at least four versions of this opera. The choice between a baritone Giovanni and a bass is legitimate--Waechter is lighter, more fleixble of voice than any bass.
Taddei is the ideal Leporello, a droll peasant with a worm's eye view of the nobility and a great deal of comic cunning. Luigi Alva uses his light, lyrical tenor to wonderful effect, making Don Ottavio's two arias a joy because he avoids all strain and actually sings with ease.
The women are beyond reproach. The young Sutherland is a stupendous Donna Anna, combining spectacular bel canto technique with dramatic weight and dead-on intonation--amazing. Schwarzkopf was the Donna Elvira of the age, and one can hear why in her characterization--here is a great vocal actress applying her art to convey desperate longing, vengeance, vulnerability, and fallen pride. Sciutti as a soubrette Zerlina (rather than a mezzo) is girlish and naive, and best of all her voice is entirely different from the other ladies. In fact the varying vocal colors of the principal singers is one of the great assets of this cast. You never mistake the Don for Leporello or Donna Anna for Elvira.
Finally, Giulini, who had never conducted the oprea before stepping in to replace an indisposed Otto Klemperer, sweeps the field. His conducting contains everything a great Don G. should have--the whole range from witty sophistication to pathos and terror. The Philharmonia plays in exemplary fashion.
The sound is dullish by modern standards but good enough late-Fifties stereo. All in all, no other Don Giovanni delivers as much sheer musical pleasue, drama, and depth of emotion. Barvo!
P.S. -- Two escellent period-style Dons have come along to challenge this classic recording, led by Daniel Harding and Rene Jacobs. I've reviewed both, for anyone who's interested."
Top Ten Opera Recording
Santa Fe Listener | 12/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Giulini's sparkling conducting is only the first pleasure in this wonderful recording that appears on most critics Top-Ten list of recorded opera. The ease with which Joan Sutherland floats throught the demands of Donna Anna shows the reason for her nickname "La Stupenda". Graziella Sciutti is a perfect Zerlina. Eberhard Waechter is an attractive, noble Don -- perhaps not quite as involved in the characterisation as the great Cesare Siepi, but enjoyable nevertheless. Alva, Frick, Schwartzkopf, Taddei (wonderful) are all fine in their roles. It's an indication of the depth of quality of this recording that the world-class bass Gottlob Frick takes the comprimario role of the Commendatore, and Piero Cappuccilli is Masetto.If you have any interest whatsoever in fine singing, or the masterpieces of Mozart, you must have this recording."