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Thread: Don Carlo recommendation

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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Default Don Carlo recommendation

    So I already own four Verdi Don Carlo recordings: Jonas Kaufmann's video as well as the famed Guilini with Domingo, Solti with Bergonzi, and Haitink with Hvorostovsky. I currently have Spotify Premium for a three month trial so I want to listen to another version or two while I have that access.

    Do I go with the Karajan, starring Carreras and Freni? Those are all good names I enjoy hearing. I'd love to hear it with full idiomatic french singing but there is only one French recording. Certainly it is a rather famed recording, the Abaddo. My only hesitation is that I've heard it doesn't sound terribly french and there are several repeat performers on this with my Guilini....I mean is it different "Enough"? Or should I branch out to some of the lesser acclaimed recordings, where I could hear Franco Corelli and Gundula Janowitz or Jon Vickers. I may also give the Sung-in-English one a try. I know these aren't popular but I kind of enjoy trying them.

    What's your pick? Open to other ideas not listed too. I will say sound quality does matter. It doesn't have to be audiophile quality but if it's very scratchy or muffled sound it's probably out for me.
    Last edited by Sonata; Jul-05-2018 at 16:12.
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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    So I already own four Verdi Don Carlo recordings: Jonas Kaufmann's video as well as the famed Guilini with Domingo, Solti with Bergonzi, and Haitink with Hvorostovsky. I currently have Spotify Premium for a three month trial so I want to listen to another version or two while I have that access.

    Do I go with the Karajan, starring Carreras and Freni? Those are all good names I enjoy hearing. I'd love to hear it with full idiomatic french singing but there is only one French recording. Certainly it is a rather famed recording, the Abaddo. My only hesitation is that I've heard it doesn't sound terribly french and there are several repeat performers on this with my Guilini....I mean is it different "Enough"? Or should I branch out to some of the lesser acclaimed recordings, where I could hear Franco Corelli and Gundula Janowitz or Jon Vickers. I may also give the Sung-in-English one a try. I know these aren't popular but I kind of enjoy trying them.

    What's your pick? Open to other ideas not listed too. I will say sound quality does matter. It doesn't have to be audiophile quality but if it's very scratchy or muffled sound it's probably out for me.
    The Karajan is of the four act version, so no Fontainebleau scene. Well cast and sung, Baltsa a particularly splendid Eboli, but the recording has some very odd balances, with the orchestra pushed relentlessly into the foreground. Sometimes the singers are so distantly places, that it feels you ar eavesdropping on a private conversation, only to be blasted out of your seat at the next orchestral tutti.

    The Abbado is of scholarly interest, but the cast, aside from Domingo, who improves on his performance for Giulini, are not at their best and none of them are French specialists. Abbado’s conducting isn’t in the class of his Macbeth or Simon Boccanegra and the recording is a bit muffled.

    Still. This is Spotify. Listen to them all. M
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Jul-05-2018 at 22:28.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Azol's Avatar
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    Verdi on disc - Don Carlo

    Very recommended thread.

    Since posting my collection, I have added to it a couple more and still two more are about to arrive by mail anytime soon. There is no such thing as too many Don Carlo recordings in my collection!

    P.S. Abbado live 1968 is still the winner in my opinion.
    Last edited by Azol; Jul-05-2018 at 17:48.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    You might want to try one of the recordings in French; it's a very different sound than the Italian.

    On Spotify, there's the Bertrand de Billy recording on Orfeo.

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    It's absolutely essential to hear the opera in the original French version. If the Pappano recording is on Spotify then I would go with that one (there will be some moments that are quite different from the later five act version). The original language of this opera is French, the Italian version is just a translation and it tells!

    I can never decide which my favourite recording of this opera is. My preferred version of the work is the final five act version, but in its original French (which is what you get on the Abbado). The Abbado also has some variants which you don't normally hear in performance in an appendix including the opening chorus (much better than the off stage chorus and entrance of Don Carlo), the ballet and a wonderful duet for Elizabeth and Eboli.

    Despite a preference for the opera in its original language I really like the live recording from Covent Garden in 1958 conducted by Giulini, it's a wonderful companion to his studio recording.

    I'm not a fan of the four act version and none of the recordings of that version have overall good casts IMO.

    N.
    Last edited by The Conte; Jul-05-2018 at 17:55.

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    Senior Member Granate's Avatar
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    Current Don Carlo threads:

    Verdi on Disc - Don Carlo (2017 thread, it was started by me instead of DavidA)

    Don Carlos/Carlo recordings (you started this one three years ago!)

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    It's absolutely essential to hear the opera in the original French version. If the Pappano recording is on Spotify then I would go with that one (there will be some moments that are quite different from the later five act version). The original language of this opera is French, the Italian version is just a translation and it tells!
    I don't disagree, but it's worth remembering that Italian was Verdi's native tongue, and I suspect that he was thinking in Italian when composing. The opera sounds very different in French, though.

    I can never decide which my favourite recording of this opera is. My preferred version of the work is the final five act version, but in its original French
    One recording that isn't often mentioned is this one:

    don carlos.jpg

    The cast isn't perfect, but the recording is very complete, and the singers are Francophones. My problem with the Pappano recording is that neither Mattila nor Meier sound very comfortable in their roles, and I don't care much for Hampson.

    Despite a preference for the opera in its original language I really like the live recording from Covent Garden in 1958 conducted by Giulini, it's a wonderful companion to his studio recording.
    I'm not a fan of Christoff's Philip. The five act Italian version that I like best is the 1978 La Scala with Freni, Carreras, Obratsova, and Ghiaurov, conducted by Abbado. It was issued on CD by Myto, but is OOP and expensive if you can find it.

    A "sleeper" choice is the recording on Naxos. It's the five act version in Italian; the singing is all pretty good, except for Mattei's Posa, which is, without question, the best assumption of that role on recordings.

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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post
    Current Don Carlo threads:

    Verdi on Disc - Don Carlo (2017 thread, it was started by me instead of DavidA)

    Don Carlos/Carlo recordings (you started this one three years ago!)
    Well....go ahead and send me to the Grand Inquisitor! I guess I started this one because my recommendation request was Spotify specific so I thought it might be helpful to have streamlined responses.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonata View Post
    Well....go ahead and send me to the Grand Inquisitor! I guess I started this one because my recommendation request was Spotify specific so I thought it might be helpful to have streamlined responses.


    My spotify list for the final challenge...

    Santini Roma (M)
    Votto MMF 56 (M)
    Adler Met 64 (M)
    Stiedry Met 50 (M)

    Levine Met
    Muti Scala
    Karajan WStO 79
    Solti ROH CG
    Santini Scala
    Karajan BPO
    Stein WStO 70
    Giulini ROH CG
    Patané DSOB (G)

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I don't disagree, but it's worth remembering that Italian was Verdi's native tongue, and I suspect that he was thinking in Italian when composing. The opera sounds very different in French, though.



    One recording that isn't often mentioned is this one:

    don carlos.jpg

    The cast isn't perfect, but the recording is very complete, and the singers are Francophones. My problem with the Pappano recording is that neither Mattila nor Meier sound very comfortable in their roles, and I don't care much for Hampson.



    I'm not a fan of Christoff's Philip. The five act Italian version that I like best is the 1978 La Scala with Freni, Carreras, Obratsova, and Ghiaurov, conducted by Abbado. It was issued on CD by Myto, but is OOP and expensive if you can find it.

    A "sleeper" choice is the recording on Naxos. It's the five act version in Italian; the singing is all pretty good, except for Mattei's Posa, which is, without question, the best assumption of that role on recordings.
    I don't know the Opera Rara recording and I haven't been tempted to look into it, partly because I'm not keen on the Opera Rara recording of Vepres and partly because I really like Mattila and Meier in the Pappano set. I realise that they aren't typical verdi voices, but they are committed to the dramatic journey of their roles and bring something distinctive to the music.

    I know that Italian was Verdi's first language, however the music was originally written with the French text in mind (even the second five act version was a setting of a French text). Verdi most definitely didn't have the Italian text in mind as it wasn't translated into Italian until after he had set the original text. This is also evident in the fact that some of the Italian translation is macaronic and the French text is easier to sing.

    I think that the changes Verdi made after the Paris performances certainly improved the work (and as already noted those changes were made using a French text), so that's why I prefer the Abbado version as it is the only recording I know of which uses the improved edition, but in the original language.

    N.

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    Senior Member howlingfantods's Avatar
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    No idea what's on spotify, but here are some I like that aren't on your list of owned recordings:

    1) Santini with Labo/Stell/Bastianini/Cossotto/Christoff - The "leads" aren't really the best but they're totally acceptable, and the low-voiced crew are excellent, particularly Bastianini who delivers my favorite performance as di Posa

    2) Abbado with Domingo/Margaret Price/Bruson/Obraztsova/Nesterenko - The sound quality is a little muffled. I find Margaret Price not totally idiomatic but a much more incisive and interesting performance than Caballe or Freni or Janowitz is able to deliver. Domingo is excellent, but Obraztsova is a little wild and not very alluring.

    3a, b, and c) Karajan with Domingo/Freni/Ludwig/Cappuccilli/Ghiaurov or Carreras/Freni/Cappuccilli/Baltsa/Raimondi or Abbado with Carreras/Freni/Cappuccilli/Obraztsova/Ghiaurov. Three live recordings in much better sound than #2, but I like the overall performances a bit less. Both Karajans are 4 act versions, so I prefer the Abbado there, but I prefer Domingo over Carreras as Carlos. I prefer Ghiaurov over Raimondi, and Baltsa > Ludwig >>> Obraztsova for me (it's an off night for Ludwig, or possibly just an off role--she didn't do Eboli much). I prefer the natural live sound for the Karajan performances by far over his studio recording.

    4) Adler with Corelli/Rysanek/Dalis/Herlea/Tozzi - Corelli and Rysanek have a lot more charisma than many Carlos and Elizabeths, but the sound is a little boxy.

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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    It's absolutely essential to hear the opera in the original French version. If the Pappano recording is on Spotify then I would go with that one (there will be some moments that are quite different from the later five act version). The original language of this opera is French, the Italian version is just a translation and it tells!

    N.

    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    You might want to try one of the recordings in French; it's a very different sound than the Italian.

    On Spotify, there's the Bertrand de Billy recording on Orfeo.
    Thank you! I couldn't find any of the French except the Abbado on first search but I tweaked my parameters and did find these. I'll try to listen to both in the next couple months while I have Premium
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    Senior Member Sonata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Granate View Post


    My spotify list for the final challenge...

    Santini Roma (M)
    Votto MMF 56 (M)
    Adler Met 64 (M)
    Stiedry Met 50 (M)

    Levine Met
    Muti Scala
    Karajan WStO 79
    Solti ROH CG
    Santini Scala
    Karajan BPO
    Stein WStO 70
    Giulini ROH CG
    Patané DSOB (G)

    Well played!! And thank you for the response
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    The following article from OperaWire.com discusses the differing versions of Verdi's Don Carlo, and the strengths and weaknesses of the various recordings of the opera in relation to the version used. It's a better overview than I could write, so here it is:

    http://operawire.com/don-carlo-or-do...ic-masterwork/

    For completeness, it does sound like Bertrand de Billy's 4 hr. recording should be heard at some point.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Jul-06-2018 at 16:19.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    For completeness, it does sound like Bertrand de Billy's 4 hr. recording should be heard at some point.
    Very complete, in French, good sound, well conducted. The singing, though, is mostly only adequate, except for Vargas, who is quite good, and Skovhus, who is absolutely dreadful - the worst Posa on records.

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