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Mozart - Don Giovanni / Skovhus · Girolami · Pieczonka · I. Raimondi · Halász Box set

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, November 20, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

This recording of Mozart's Don Giovanni would be worth acquiring even if it sold at full price: as a bargain issue, it's almost a dream release. From the explosive opening bars through to the final epilogue, the reading is dramatically high-voltage. Conducted by Michael Halasz at energized tempi, it has room to breathe in a spacious recording ambience, which means that numbers like "Fin ch'han dal vino" register as something more than a garbled blur. The orchestral playing is crisp and alert, with clear projection of some often bypassed inner detail (like the cello underlay to "Batti, batti"); the ensemble singing is distinguished; and the solos come with real finesse--especially from Adrianne Pieczonka, whose Donna Anna is disarmingly bright, fresh, and youthful in a way that for once explains what Giovanni sees in her. Regina Schorg's Elvira is a touch stern with a wide vibrato but no matter: it's a fine voice. And there's a superb Ottavio from Torsten Kerl: a name you won't know but should listen for. Neither of the two main roles, alas, quite squares up vocally to the best available on disc: Renato Girolami's Leporello doesn't shine for the recording, and Bo Skovhus--an accomplished Giovanni, as already heard on the Mackerras version--has a clouded tone that loses focus. But they both deliver theater, almost to excess. Caveat emptor: this is a Prague edition reading as opposed to the usual mix of Prague and Vienna, which means that two of the most celebrated numbers--"Dalla sua pace" and "Mi tradi"--are consigned to an appendix; and the booklet gives you the libretto in Italian only, no translation. Otherwise, this recording gets a general and enthusiastic thumbs-up. --Michael White
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Product Details

  • Performer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Michael Halász, Bo Skovhus, Adrianne Pieczonka, Regina Schörg, et al.
  • Audio CD (November 20, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Naxos Opera
  • Run Time: 174 minutes
  • ASIN: B00005QISV
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #677,061 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I disagree with the Amazon reviewer that Michael Halász did a fine job.
The 'band' is fine, if not superb, but the conducting is the sole cause of all the problems that beset this otherwise very fine performance.
I utterly disagree that Girolami is a pedestrian Leporello. Far from that. It is just that we have had far too many 'star' Leporellos - they distract the audience (always mixing him up with the Don); they substract from the drama (by being too flambouyant).
Girolami's Leporello simply avoids 'all' such stuff - his is a dark buffa bas baritone, not easily found among the current breed. Bryn Terfel could have been such one, but his singing is never 'buffo' - he is far too serious for such, and hence, a good Wotan he makes, but as Leporello, he lacks the buffo (in Abbado's DG 1998 version).
This 2000 version of Naxos boosts of a wonderful pairing of Leporello and Giovanni, and another wonderful pairing of Ottavio and Anna.
Don Giovanni has been Skovhus's signature role. He is without doubt the BEST Don Giovanni since Cesare Siepi - he has the suave phrasing and sweetness of timbre; he also has the incisive heft denoting the underlying brute in the Don. His mellifluous duet with Raimondi (a very capable Zerlina), his swaggering Champagne aria, and the alluring serenade as well as the brutish aria that lures away the enemy Masetto are all done to such degree of vocal finesse that only 'perfection' would aptly describe.
On top of this, his pairing with Girolami's Leporello is simply a choice of genius - Leporello being the rustic, dark buffa guy, while the Don, the sophisticated libertine.
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Format: Audio CD
Adrianne Pieczonka is a godess. She is my favorite Donna Anna of all time and loved her in this performance. All the rest were pretty mediocre (except the brilliantly sung Donna Elvira of Regina Schorg) but she made up for them. Buy this CD with confidence.
If you like Adrianne than buy Don Giovanni by Glyndbourne or Don Giovanni by Muti with Carlos Alvarez and Michael Schade.
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Format: Audio CD
This Cd is a must have. its so underated and unseen because of so many other great composers. but forget about the others, Halasz is far ahead of all others in this classic Cd of great singers and music. Don't let this one slip by, it deserves a good listening to. The experiance is lasting.
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Format: Audio CD
This is half the price of most recordings of Don Giovanni.
It is also pretty small beer, a good night in a provincial house, but nothing more. It is not to be compared with Giulini, Krips, Mitropoulos, Davis, Klemperer, Haitink, Harnoncourt, Gardiner, et. al.
The singers are earnest, the conductor gives his all, but if you can listen without remembering how little you paid, it is simply not competitive. There are expensive recordings that are bad, and cheap reissues that are good, but there are too many excellent recordings of Don Giovanni in the catalog for this one to be taken seriously. It is not good enough to treated as an equal.
It's only a bargain. Save a little extra money, keep browsing and go with the big leagues. Mozart deserves it and so do you.
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