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Verdi: Don Carlos

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, September 14, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Plácido Domingo, Katia Ricciarelli, Lucia Valentini Terrani, Ruggero Raimondi, Leo Nucci, et al.
  • Conductor: Claudio Abbado
  • Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
  • Audio CD (September 14, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001G68
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #118,645 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is maybe the only complete french recoding of Verdi's masterpiece! (except probably Pappano's live one of 1996 with Alagna, Mattila ETC). I must say it is more complete than just complete. It also has an appendix of 6 pieces that were cut from the premiere or the later revision of the work by Verdi. And it is all in French, the language in which Verdi composed and revised Don Carlo. Maybe the italian versions sound better and more appropriate but make no mistake, Don Carlos was written as a French grand opera.
Domingo sings wonderfully with a true conviction, despite the fact that he sounds better in his Italian recording of the opera with Cabbale and Giulini in 1971. Ricciarelli is surely no Cabbale, but she does a quite nice work although sometimes she cannot carry out some high notes.
Nucci gives an adequate performance, but is a matter of taste, you either like him or dislike him from the start.
Raimondi is superb as the tormented King, though I would prefer Ghiaurov in the role instead of the role of the Inquisitor. Maybe these two should have exchanged parts. Ghiaurov's voice is huge and ringing and he had enough experience with the role of the King. Well, Raimondi is very good none the matter.
Finally, Valentini-Terrani gives us a magnificent Eboli, though her "Veil song" could be sung (and has been sung) better by other performers.
But on the whole, this IS a definitive Don Carlos and a must have for all Verdi's collectoros!!
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Format: Audio CD
Don Carlos recordings in the original French version are not thick on the ground. Abbado's set is the only truly complete recording of the original opera as Verdi intended it to remain. This circumstance is almost as odd as all the Un ballo in maschera productions that are still in this day and age set in Boston and not at the Swedish court.
Habits do indeed die hard.

I love any version of Don Carlo(s) and enjoy the more blood and guts results of having it sung in Italian, it IS different, but in French it is magnificently beautiful as well as powerful. Not that the great recordings of the Italian versions aren't beautiful (Giulini, Haitink, Solti) but they aren't, well, uh... in French. There is a suavity to the music that is more apparent in its original language than there is in Italian. I can't explain it, sorry.

Abbado has cast his characters carefully to suit the French language and its softer edges than the more spiky Italian. His Eboli is the obsidian-chocolate-velvety voiced Lucia Valentini Terrani. Compare this mezzo to the fire-eater, Agnes Baltsa, who, for Karajan in the 4 act Italian version, is all erupting Vesuvius whereas Terrani is a subtle, intelligent, sensitive woman who is still capable of roaring but not quite like the masonry crackers like Baltsa and Obraztsova.

I love Baltsa for Karajan but I adore Terrani for Abbado. What a beautiful voice she had. Her untimely death from leukemia in her 50s prime deprived us of much great singing from her still to come I have no doubt. She didn't record as much as Marilyn Horne who took most of the great Rossini roles to the studios. Terrani's singing was ultra-feminine which didn't measure up to the trouser roles when compared to the masculine-sounding Horne.
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Format: Audio CD
The stars of this studio performance are Abbado and the Scala in stunning form, and Domingo in good voice as an involved Carlos. It's easy to nitpick on details: the late Valentini-Terrani a size too small, Nucci too straightforward, Ricciarelli past her prime...but it all doesn't matter. All principals contribute to the energy of this recording, and the performance as a whole is great. The one significant flaw is the too-reverberant recording. Still, this is a better place to start than the beautiful but relatively uninvolved Giulini.

This recording follows the (superior?) 5-act revised version in French, and so presents the French original of the Italian translation recorded by, e.g., Giulini, Solti, Haitink and Levine. The major changes since the orginal version have been recorded as appendices at the end of disc 4.

For an interesting modern alternative of the Italian translation in good sound, I recommend Haitink - beautifully conducted and recorded, good voices, and Hvorostovski as Posa has to be heard to be believed.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The opera "Don Carlos" (1867) by Giuseppe Verdi(1813-1901) is the best historic opera that I have heard: It`s about the conflict between the King Philipp II of Spain (1527-1598) and his son, the Prince Don Carlos (1545-1568), who wanted to free the flamands from the spanish yoke. It`s incredible how the Great Inquisitor justifies the crime against Don Carlos, by saying that God had given His proper Son to save the world and that then the King Philipp II could sacrify his son, because he had broken the law through the betrayal.
Plácido Domingo as Don Carlos is superb in this production. His arias "Je l`ai vue" and "O bien perdu, trésor sans prix" have a great beauty. His duetto with Isabelle de Valois (Katia Ricciarelli)in the fifth act: "Au revoir dans un monde" got almost me to weep. The love between Don Carlos and Isabelle was already impossible and the thought about that could have happened, but the destiny didn`t want is the gist of this masterwork.
Katia Ricciarelli as the Princess Isabelle de Valois was outstanding, too. Her voice is tender. Her aria "Toi, qui sus le néant" in the fifth act is superb. Her powerful voice is charming.
Lucia Valentini Terrani as the Princess of Eboli represents her role of a jealous woman very well. The "Chanson du voile" is a good proof of her talent.
Ruggero Raimondi as Philipp II of Spain is great. When I heard his first intervention "Pour quoi seule, madame?", I feel my body to shake because of his powerful voice. I almost imagined that I was listening to the voice of a great King. By this way you could imagine that you are face to face with Philipp II of Spain. His aria "Elle ne m`aime pas" about the refuse that Isabelle de Valois had against him is very human.
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