Siepi Shines In Otherwise Standard Solti Fare
tacks31 | San Francisco, CA | 06/23/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know what it is with Georg Solti. He is beyond compare in his Mahler Symphonies and works of Richard Strauss, yet I have never really liked the way he conducted Mozart's operas. In this one there are many fine moments; however, Solti's goes haywire at some points with frenetic conducting. In 'Fin Ch'han Dal Vino,' one of my favorite arias from Don Giovanni, it sounds like he's trying to achieve some speed record. Siepi does all he can to keep up with the rapid pace of the orchestra.
For me there are five indespensible Don Giovanni recordings: Furtwangler at Salzburg in 1950, 1953 and 1954, Mitropoulos at Salzburg in 1956 for the Mozart Bicentennial year, and Kripps on the Decca label from 1955 with the Vienna Philharmonic. The 1950 Furtwangler recording has Tito Gobbi as the Don. The other four all have Siepi, who in the 50's and 60's practically owned that role in opera houses throughout the world.
Of historic note is the tribute given at the end of the concert for Bruno Walter, who passed away just days earlier.
I would recommend this recording of Don for completist fans of the opera, or for dedicated collectors of Siepi's or Solti's recordings. I give it four stars, well above average - but definitely in the second tier of Don Giovanni recordings.