This is what Don Carlos is all about!
J. Luis Juarez Echenique | Mexico City | 04/26/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Don Carlos has been very lucky on record. It seems that every artist involved with this opera is forced to give his best. There are treasurable recordings conducted by Santini (DG), Giulini (EMI) and Solti (DECCA). When Abbado recorded the original French version in 1984, it was a revelation. The original French is much better than the Italian translation. But unfortunately, in spite of Placido Domingo and Abbado' s superb conducting, the rest of the cast was rather disappointing. Tony Pappano readily shows that he has Verdi in his blood in this, his first Verdi recording. The cast is the finest that could be assembled today. All of the leads give terrific performances and everyone is in good voice. Jose van Dam has been criticized for being too light of voice for Philippe. Nonsense, he sings with warmth and conviction, and should not be accused of not being Ghiaurov or Siepi. Alagna, Mattila and Hampson are fresh voiced and very involved. Waltraut Meier is very erotic and sensuous. This is a very successful affair, and I doubt that a better Don Carlos will come in many years."
Verdi in French
danielinyaracuy | San Felipe, Yaracuy Venezuela | 06/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It is about time that that this long neglected original French version of Don Carlos gets back into the limelight against its younger brother, the Italian Don Carlo. The French version is definitely more complete, richer in musical details than the subsequent Italian version. We can see after listeneing to a good French Don Carlos, that Verdi rewrote it without too much care, just to salvage something out of an unjust Paris bombing of the premiere. This version compares favorably with the previous one featuring Placido Domingo. In this version the French diction of the singers is overall better. Having Alagna and Van Dam, native speakers, and Hampson who might as well be a native speaker, bring forth the sonorities for which Verdi composed first this opera before having to rewrite it in the better known Italian version. French opera is always difficult to cast but today with newcomers such as Alagna and polished singers such as Hampson one hopes that French opera will reoccupy the place it deserves. This version for all of its virtues suffers from the fact that it is a live recording. If it adds an occasional sense of urgency, it still dampens the quality of the sound and opens the door to audience reaction which can distract some. However those are minor things and it should not detract the opera lover from adding this version to her collection. Mattila and Meier are quite good here though the Eboli personage outshines the Queen. If it had been recorded in studio with the same cast it would have definitely deserved 5 stars."
An interesting take
bear66 | Albany, NY USA | 04/29/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A composite of earlier versions, this recording is really a series of snapshots of "Don Carlos" as a work in progress. Those who know the later version(s) well will find some unexpected twists, as parts of the score venture off in completely different directions from what you're used to hearing. This can be disconcerting, but it is also an opportunity to re-examine an old favorite from a new vantage point."