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bergonzi don carlo

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Initial post: Nov 14, 2012 9:10:03 PM PST

is the solti sudio recording the only time bergonzi(and?or tebaldi) recorded don carlo? i can not recall ever seeing ither of these artists on the cast listing of any other version and you would think there would be others but i guess not.

Posted on Nov 16, 2012 3:34:26 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
Yes, the Solti is the only studio recording in which Bergonzi and Tebaldi participated. There might be live recordings out there, though I've never come across one with them. In fact, I think Tebaldi may never have sung Elisabetta in the theater, but learned the role for the recording. That was the case with her Trovatore. She never sang Leonora in the theater.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2012 5:53:44 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 16, 2012 5:54:27 PM PST]

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 4:58:57 AM PST
thank you,

i wonder why don carlo/carlos played such a small part in the work of past giants of verdi like toscanini,caruso, farrar, gigli,callas, martinelli,tibbitt,milanov,l.price,l.warren, del monaco,di stefano,serifan ,de sabata, rethberg, pinza,slezak,stignani, castagana,
and so many more as well as tebaldi and bergonzi!

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 12:22:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2012 5:13:02 PM PST
Todd Kay says:
Besides Bergonzi and Tebaldi, the only surprising one to me on that list is Leontyne Price. She reportedly did not sing Elisabetta because this was one of the Verdi heroines she felt she could not convincingly embody physically. Many of the singers and conductors in your list were of the early 20th century, the interwar and immediate postwar years, and you have a few who were winding down in the 1960s. DON CARLOS was rarer than a hen's tooth until the revivals of the 1950s, and it gained ground over the next decade but only slowly became a staple.

Had any/all of them been born at a different time, active in the 1970s, it would have been as central to their repertoire as TROVATORE and AIDA.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2012 2:14:37 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 18, 2012 2:28:34 PM PST
John Ruggeri says:
harold fredericks jr

Don Carlo had a strange MET history until more recently.

Amended and Added.
[Met Performance] CID:76450
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Don Carlo {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/23/1920.
(Metropolitan Opera Premiere)
(Debut: Gretel Urban

Metropolitan Opera House
December 23, 1920
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
In Italian

Giuseppe Verdi--François Joseph Méry/Camille du Locle

Don Carlo...............Giovanni Martinelli
Elizabeth of Valois.....Rosa Ponselle
Rodrigo.................Giuseppe De Luca
Princess Eboli..........Margarete Matzenauer
Philip II...............Adamo Didur
Grand Inquisitor........Louis D'Angelo
Celestial Voice.........Marie Sundelius
Friar...................William Gustafson
Tebaldo.................Ellen Dalossy
Count of Lerma..........Angelo Badà
Countess of Aremberg....Maria Savage
Herald..................Angelo Badà
Dance...................Rosina Galli
Dance...................Giuseppe Bonfiglio
Conductor...............Gennaro Papi
Director................Samuel Thewman
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Gretel Urban [Debut]
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli
Translation by Lauzières, Zanardini

Don Carlo received seven performances this season.
The review was not sublime.
After -3- seasons in which the opera was called Don Carlos the opera went into a haitus until 1950
when it was Rudolf Bing's opening Nigh Performance at the MET with

November 6, 1950 Telecast --Opening Night {66} -- In Italian --New production
Rudolf Bing, General Manager
Giuseppe Verdi--François Joseph Méry/Camille du Locle

Don Carlo...............Jussi Björling
Elizabeth of Valois.....Delia Rigal [Debut]
Rodrigo.................Robert Merrill
Princess Eboli..........Fedora Barbieri [Debut]
Philip II...............Cesare Siepi [Debut]
Grand Inquisitor........Jerome Hines
Celestial Voice.........Lucine Amara [Debut]
Friar...................Luben Vichey
Tebaldo.................Anne Bollinger
Count of Lerma..........Paul Franke
Countess of Aremberg....Tilda Morse
Herald..................Emery Darcy

Conductor...............Fritz Stiedry
Director................Margaret Webster [Debut]
Designer................Rolf Gérard [Debut]
With Corelli, Tucker and Domingo on the MET roster it has been a MET staple since with quite noble casts.


Posted on Nov 18, 2012 3:27:49 PM PST

that 1920 cast must have been a great one i have the 1950 bjorling one and i had forgoten that signani was eboli on the 1951 fonit/cetra radio recording untill after i had posted her name. i wonder if the 1958 vickers/christoph covet garden was the first big english revival like the 1950 bjorling new yorkwas in the united states.i think it must have been.

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 5:19:37 PM PST
Todd Kay says:
The same year London was getting Brouwenstijn, Barbieri, Vickers, Gobbi, and Christoff under Carlo Maria Giulini, Salzburg was getting Jurinac, Simionato, Fernandi, Bastianini, and Siepi under Herbert von Karajan. A big year for Verdi/DON CARLOS fans.

Salzburg's has less music but was better recorded (I've heard the best possible transfers of each, the ROH official label's and the Deutsche Grammophon respectively). I'd give Salzburg a slight edge for cast quality.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 18, 2012 7:04:34 PM PST
John Ruggeri says:
This duet IMO is one of the glories in all opera. From the Bergonzi set. ENJOY

DON CARLO - Il Grande Inquisitor!
Filippo: Nicolaj Ghiaurov --Inquisitore: Martti Talvela --Conte di Lerma: Kenneth MacDonald
Georg Solti

Posted on Nov 18, 2012 10:00:26 PM PST

is the 1958 salzberg von karajan free from some of his self indulgene the way his 1950's versions of most things seem to be better than his post 1975-1989 remakes seem to be at least to me(i feell the same about solti and bernstein remakes as well)many of the things they got away with in those times would never have been tolerated if other names were on reccord label!
i know fisher-dieasku is contraversal on the solti set but is he realy any diferent than what we get as posa today?

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 5:04:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012 5:05:36 AM PST
Re Don Carlos and the Met, Rudolf Bing had this to say in his autobiography:

"I decided quite early that I wished to open my first season with Verdi's Don Carlo, which had not been done at the Metropolitan since 1922--and had not been much of a success then (only eleven performances in three years) despite the presence of Chaliapin, Matrinelli and Ponselle. People thought this an extremely adventurous choice; what I knew that they did not was that during the late 1920s in Central Europe we had learned how to do these later Verdi operas so that they made their proper effect." ("5000 Nights at the Opera," page 113.)


Posted on Nov 19, 2012 11:22:41 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 19, 2012 11:25:23 AM PST
Todd Kay says:
Harold Fredericks Jr.: I actually like the Karajan/EMI DON CARLO recording of the late 1970s for the way the engineers and the superhuman Berlin Phil of that time create a cold, forbidding, dread-filled atmosphere in the quiet parts, broken up by savage outbursts that all but pin you to the wall. This is definitely an only-in-the-studio experience, as a lot of his opera recordings of that period were. Even though it is conductor-dominated, it has the best cast of any commercial recording of that opera. He even got Van Dam for the Monk, Hendricks for the Heavenly Voice, Gruberova for Tebaldo. I just wish it were five rather than four acts.

I do *not* like the sad Salzburg DVD of 1986, in which he had retained the damaged Carreras and the aging and tired-sounding Cappuccilli, and got a soprano 22 years old to sing Elisabetta. Furlanetto's Filippo and Baltsa's Eboli are good. But the whole performance has the feel of an embalming. Maybe by that point Karajan had even lost me. I don't like many of his very late recordings (very late being after the live Mahler 9th).

To answer your question, the 1958 live recording is nothing at all like either of the above. It's much more straightforward and lively. Of course, there are cuts widely in practice at the time. You may try to find some clips to see if it's to your liking before buying it; I'm sure some/all of it is on YouTube.

Posted on Nov 19, 2012 5:32:27 PM PST

i love jurinac, bastianini, and simionato. d.g. did not keep this in print very long though same with the simianoto and jurinac orfeo with karajan that they had out at the same time although they always keep the 1962 trovatore in pint i hope they put it out again or have the rights to all of these live salzburgperformances gone to the orfeo label?they have put out some good ones in the last few years.

Posted on Nov 22, 2012 7:33:31 PM PST
Edgar Self says:
When Hans Hotter sang Grand Inquisitor at the Met, some New York critics said it was one of the greatest things they had seen on the stage.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 22, 2012 8:46:23 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 22, 2012 8:47:27 PM PST
I find it strange that nobody ever mentioned the 1951 Cetra Don Carlo with Previtali and the 1958 Don Carlo with Santini. A friend of mine said these were the best ever performances among the many he tried, including Bjorling's 1950 Met performance. He didn't like Vickers so I don't think he tried the 1955 Covent Garden performance.

The Karajan/EMI Don Carlo was the first one I've ever tried. I won't say it's very good but you can't fault the performance. Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Ghiaurov and Raimondi have beautiful voices and do some vocal acting but they don't set the performance on fire. The best in that album was Cappuccilli. Yes, Van Dam as the Monk, Hendricks as the Heavenly Voice and Gruberova as Tebaldo. That's the best cast you can get on paper but unfortunately, they've minimal involvement.

I didn't know Cappuccilli ever ran into vocal decline. I always thought he was in form right till the end. The best Verdian baritone of the 70s. I like Zancanaro more but I'm happy with Cappuccilli too.

I think Hotter should be King Philip rather than the Inquisitor, given his stature and reputation. I wonder if any of Germany's great basso profondos like Weber, Frick, Bohme and Greindl ever had a shot at the Inquisitor. It's a small scene but..

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 9:13:39 PM PST
Edgar Self says:
I have a live "Don Carlo" with Carreras, when he could still sing; and another live from Lyric Opera of Chicago with Gobbi, Bastianini, I think Simionato, and Margarita Roberti that Roberti gave me when she visited my Tower shop. I've never cared for Bergonzi's sound or appearance. He was an embrrassment at Levine's Met gala when they couldn't get him off the stage.

Darren will be glad to know Hans Hotter in addition to Grand Inquisitor also sang the roles of King Philip, Falstaff, Macbeth, Duncan, Marchese, Iago, Monterone, Simone, Montfort, Amonasro, Basilio, Schicchi, Scarpia, Schaunard, Bonze, Marcel, Mandarin, and Captain in "Manon Lescaut".

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 10:54:44 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 1:59:42 AM PST
Todd Kay says:
I like Carlo B. more than Edgar does, even in that '96 Levine gala. There he sang the famous aria from LUISA MILLER and the tenor part of the trio from LOMBARDI (with Anderson and Furlanetto). The former:

I have read that he was replacing a non-participating Pavarotti in these two numbers.

One of his two (or three?) returns to the stage to receive applause is edited out here.

The tone has faded and the pitch is errant -- it wavers and wanders when he has to hold something, especially on high, and I suspect his hearing is not what it once was -- but I do love his sense of style, his "attack," combining virility and elegance... which is what he always had going for him. He was, IMO, better an Alfredo and Duke of Mantua than a Radames or Don Alvaro, but there was an intensity that allowed him to plausibly take the heavier roles.

I have the DVD version of that gala. It presents a mix of singers who were relatively new Met stars in '96 (Alagna, Eaglen, Fleming, Gheorghiu, Mattila, Meier, Terfel, Voigt), some who were at "high noon" (Domingo, Furlanetto, Millo, Morris, Plishka, Ramey, Vaness, Zajick), and some whose singing was a faded echo of what they were capable of in their great days, but who belonged and were well received anyway (Bergonzi, Bumbry, Cotrubas, Jones, Kraus, Milnes, Te Kanawa). ( *But Jones's TURANDOT aria was left off the video.)

However, of Bergonzi's later attempt to sing OTELLO at Carnegie at the age of 75, I can only say it was brave but not wise. A tough but fair review from Anthony Tommasini:

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 25, 2012 12:23:03 PM PST
Edgar Self says:
At Levine's gala the concertmaster of the Met orchestra was retiring. I don't remember his name, but he played the long prominent violin solo in the trio from "I Lombardi" Todd mentions, ... the one Gigli, Pinza, and Rethberg recorded complete with what one reviewer called Gigli's cadenza of sobs. I think it was Irving Kolodin.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 12:49:18 PM PST
Todd Kay says:
The concertmaster was Raymond Gniewek (I couldn't come up with that off the top of my head either). Besides holding the position for a long time, he is also the husband of the much-admired Met soprano Judith Blegen.

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 7:31:03 PM PST
Edgar Self says:
Many thanks, Todd, that's the name. I was impressed by the violinist-concertmaster's playing in the gala. It was good of Levine to give him such rominence, and to include the long introduction with violin solo to the Lombardi trio.

Posted on Nov 29, 2012 4:14:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2012 4:18:06 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
Well, I thought Bergonzi was fabulous in that gala. Yes, his voice was not what it once was, but that's true of most singers even younger than he was there, but he sang the aria with his accustomed Verdian style and he brought me to tears, the good kind. You were hearing the sort of singing that has left the world's opera stages and Bergonzi was a vivid reminder of the glory that once was.

Karajan's EMI recording of Don Carlo has always been controversial. It was one of the most prominent examples of his miscasting of famous singers. Freni, Carreras, and Baltsa should never have gone anywhere near this Verdian masterpiece, as their voices were just too light for its demands. The same goes for the Aida in which Freni and Carreras sang for Karajan. Doing big spinto roles like that surely had much to do with the coarsening of Freni's once remarkably pure sound, and could not have helped Carrerras as he began falling ill. Freni continued singing Elisabetta and Aida, while recording another major Verdi spinto part, Leonora in Forza del Destino. Carreras continued with Don Carlos, adding Don Alvaro, another unsuitable part for him, as well as Calaf. What can you say? It's all over and done with now, but the wreckage is there to be heard on some unsatisfactory recordings, both studio and live.

Karajan liked smaller, lyrical voices in big roles. Unfortunately, he has trained an entire generation, and the upcoming ones, of listeners to prefer smaller voices as well. I'm waiting for Roberta Peters type voices to begin singing Salome and Electra, and for Juan Diego Flores type voices to take on Tristan and Siegfried. You see, those sorts of voices sound "younger" to today's opera lovers than the Nilsson and Melchior types, and we all know young lovers, even in opera, must be performed only by singers who look thin and sound young, which translates as smaller voices. After all, young people don't usually have big voices and most sopranos and tenors we hear in high school and college have light voices, so those must be the correct ones for young operatic lovers as well.

Sometimes it makes me want to turn out the lights on my love for opera!

Posted on Nov 29, 2012 8:38:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2012 8:53:25 PM PST
Todd Kay says:
At the time Freni took on those heavier Verdi roles, she had been singing "her" roles (Micaela, Juliette, Mimi, Norina, Zerlina, etc.) all over the world for 20 years. She started in 1955 as Micaela; she would have had a memorable and long career had she retired in 1980. I don't think nature gave her everything you need to be a successful Aida or Leonora di Vargas (Elisabetta is more in dispute), but her performances were honorable attempts, and I don't agree that she harmed her voice. She was going eventually to sound older anyway. She *was* older.

Rather, I'm impressed with how much she had left years after that, when she undertook the congenial roles of Tatyana and Lisa (I believe at her husband's urging), both live and in the studio. What I hear in those recordings of the late 1980s and early 1990s is beautiful singing that is characteristic, even if a connoisseur would recognize the singer as an older Freni.

Carreras was a very different animal. His technique was not as secure as Freni's, and he didn't manage his progression so patiently and intelligently, so his best years were many fewer. He was already showing signs of trouble after about five years. A better female analogue to Carreras would be his former paramour Ricciarelli. There's even still a Karajan connection.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2012 9:01:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 29, 2012 9:03:05 PM PST
John Ruggeri says:
I believe this duet was mentioned early in this post. Bergonzi is excellent. I wish this was a younger Tebaldi but she still makes her points. Verdi is in high genius mode. I am nearly on the floor.

Verdi, Don Carlo, Di qual amor di quant' ardor... - 1965 - R. Tebaldi e C. Bergonzi

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2012 9:06:27 PM PST
John Ruggeri says:
I just found more with Carlo and Renata.

Verdi, Don Carlo, Io vengo a domandar grazia... - 1965 - R. Tebaldi e C. Bergonzi

Verdi, Don Carlo, Ma lassù ci vedremo... - 1965 - R. Tebaldi e C. Bergonzi

Posted on Nov 29, 2012 9:14:43 PM PST
Cavaradossi says:
Todd Kay

Personally, I find her difficult to listen to in those Verdi and Tchaikovsky operas, but that's an individual thing. There are two Verdi operas in which I did like her a lot, and they were both made before she tackled those heavier roles: Traviata and Simon Boccanegra.

I have long had a theory that the reason so many Latin lyric tenors go into spinto and dramatic roles is because, after a certain number of years, they feel it unmanly to continue singing the young male roles suitable to their voices, the Nemorinos, Alfredos, Ottavios, and such. One of the things that was rare about the superb tenor Alfredo Kraus was that he stuck to what worked for his slender lyric voice and never pushed it into unsuitable roles. I hope that Juan Diego Florez keeps the example of Kraus uppermost in his mind as he career progresses. Of course, there is always the possibility that his voice might become darker and weightier as time goes on and then who knows.
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Initial post:  Nov 14, 2012
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