Scroop Moth | Cheneyville, LA United States | 07/19/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Herbert Von Karajan leads the Vienna Philharmonic in an enchanting, sometimes mighty, performance of Don Carlos at the 1958 Salzburg festival. The cast list brags a vastness of musical talent rarely amassed either on stage or in studio. Karajan's mastery is deep and his sense of theater is thrilling. Karajan didn't equal himself in his later EMI studio recording, for either beauty or drama, but he had none of the golden age singers on this recording, whose singing is almost always liquid, resonant, and alive.
Eugenio Fernandi, a classic example of the underrated tenor, has enough leather for grand opera, and more than enough grace, color, and subtely to sound intriguing. He often sounds like a scaled-down Jon Vickers, just as intense and intelligent, and he is attractive. Fernandi could not be a Vickers-school Otello or Radames. Walter Legge did hire him to sing Calaf for the Callas Turandot. He isn't Corelli either. Fernandi was a good Edgardo on stage with Callas, but even that was a role that overshadowed him unfairly.
Jurinac's exquisitely blanced and polished soprano is beautiful for Elisabetta. The other very familiar singers in this performance are Giulietta Simionato, Ettore Bastianini, Cesare Siepi, Nicola Zaccaria, and Anneliese Rothenberger.
The recording favors the voices but the full mono sound does justice to the spectrum of Karajan's orchestra. And, if you've ever been there, the recording is nearly good enough to place you within the resonant cavity of the Salzburg Festspielhaus.
This is a treasurable performance to place beside your Don Carlo on the Cetra label with Rossi-Lemeni and Maria Caniglia."