# Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
# Singer: Eberhard Wächter, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Giuseppe Taddei, Gottlob Frick, Graziella Sciutti, Joan Sutherland, Luigi Alva, Piero Cappuccilli
# Orchestra: Philarmonia Orchestra
# Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
# Vinyl (1959)
# Number of Discs: 4
# Format: Flac
# Label: EMI
# DR-Analysis: DR14
# ASIN: B002N4DZ2G
# Size: 2.96 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FF
This is, in the opinion of many critics, the best recording of the greatest of all operas. The cast is a who’s who of great singers from the early stereo era (1959) when the recording was made. At the top of the cast, the young Joan Sutherland, whose fresh, agile voice, opulent in tone even at the top of its range, had recently hit the international operatic scene like an earthquake. In the title role, Eberhard Waechter portrays a man obsessed with sex as a game that he must win at any cost–and keeps on losing. Giuiseppe Taddei brings depth and ingenuity to the comic role of the valet Leporello; Luigi Alva treats two of the greatest tenor arias ever written in limpid bel canto style; Carlo Maria Giulini leads a great orchestra with a superb, synergistic balance of musical and dramatic values. –Joe McLellan
Many people consider Mozart to be the greatest composer ever, and consider “Don Giovanni” to be his finest opera ever. I am not going to choose “greatests”; I am going to say that no self-respecting music fan can afford to be without a recording of “Giovanni,” and that this 1959 Giulini/EMI set is the one to buy.
Plenty of other recordings of this well-recorded work have fabulous singing. What really makes this one a cut above the rest is the absolutely magical conducting of Carlo Maria Giulini (b. 1914). With Toscanini and Serafin, he is the finest Italian conductor of the twentieth century, and this recording is testament to his greatness. From the terrifying yet thrillingly sonorous opening of the overture to the last, joyous bars of the epilogue, he chooses perfect tempi, phrases gorgeously and brings out the drama and lyricism of this glorious opera. No other “Giovanni” conductor on record comes close. Almost every number provides a revelation, particularly after listening to merely mortal conductors … Listen to his warmth in the Moderato section of the Overture, his sensitive support to the singers in the big ensemble pieces, his terrifying intensity in the penultimate scene … If you’re looking for sublime Mozart conducting, look no further than Giulini. We are fortunate that he was given the great Philharmonia forces to work with; they turn in some glorious choral singing and orchestral playing, rich and full and beautiful and perfect for Mozart.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt either to have some of the greatest singers of the 1950s in some of their greatest roles. Eberhard Wächter is a honeyed, lyrical Don, second only to Cesare Siepi; listen to his exemplary legato and silken line at “La ci darem” and the Serenade, magnificently secure from the lowest part of his range to his top A in the penultimate scene, sung with unerring dramatic feel, and it is only the extra sumptuous richness and darkness of Siepi that gives the Italian bass the edge. Some of the other benchmark performances include: the young Joan Sutherland producing indescribably glorious sounds as Donna Anna (her diction is better than usual, and she shows a significant amount of involvement in her character) – her two big arias are among the greatest records of her formidable art on disc; Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in her prime, combining sumptuous, radiant tone with fiery interpretation (comparing her with Lisa Della Casa for Krips, one finds that Della Casa’s Elvira is slightly more effortlessly sung, but Schwarzkopf’s voice is, in my opinion, actually slightly more beautiful, and she shows more involvement in Elvira’s plight); Luigi Alva, singing the most beautiful, elegant, effortless sung Don Ottavio ever; the black, thunderous voice of Gottlob Frick as the Commendatore, secure down to a subterranean low D in the climactic scene; the great Italian baritone Piero Cappuccilli at the start of his career singing almost too beautifully as Masetto; Giuseppe Taddei providing a finely detailed, delightfully idiomatic portrait of Leporello, for the most part eloquently sung, only occasionally using his annoying “funny” voice that keeps him in second place to Fernando Corena; Graziella Sciutti as a characterful, charming Zerlina … this is a line-up unsurpassed on record. The only other recording in this league is Josef Krips’ classic 1955 Vienna Decca set, with Siepi, Danco, Della Casa, Corena, Dermota, Güden, Berry and Böhme. The essential performances here are Siepi’s glorious Giovanni, Corena’s resonant Leporello and above all the golden tones of Güden as the best Zerlina on disc. Krips’ recording has a fabulous Viennese glow; this Giulini feels more lyrically Italianate. Both these approaches are valid, but Giulini pulls his view of the piece off more finely than even the excellent Krips; and I definitely give the edge to Giulini’s flawless cast. Added to this is the gloriously clear, rich sound of Walter Legge’s classic stereo recording.
If ever there was a great recording, it’s this one. It is a classic of the gramophone and needs to be in every collection. Happy listening!
Analyzed folder: /96k WAM – Don Giovanni – GIulini
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR13 -0.85 dB -18.76 dB SideA.wav
DR15 -0.78 dB -20.89 dB SideB.wav
DR13 -0.49 dB -18.09 dB SideC.wav
DR13 -0.35 dB -18.93 dB SideD.wav
DR16 -0.48 dB -21.50 dB SideE.wav
DR14 -0.53 dB -19.85 dB SideF.wav
DR15 -0.32 dB -20.04 dB SideG.wav
DR13 -0.44 dB -17.83 dB SideH.wav
Number of files: 8
Official DR value: DR14
- Baritone Vocals [Leporello] – Giuseppe Taddei
- Bass Vocals [Don Giovanni] – Eberhard Wächter
- Bass Vocals [Le Commandeur] – Gottlob Frick
- Bass Vocals [Masetto] – Piero Cappuccilli
- Chorus Master – Roberto Benaglio
- Clavichord – Heinrich Schmidt
- Conductor – Carlo Maria Giulini
- Libretto By – Lorenzo Da Ponte
- Libretto By [Edition Française Révisée] – Adolphe Boschot
- Orchestra, Choir – Philharmonia Orchestra Et Choeurs, The*
- Soprano Vocals [Donna Anna] – Joan Sutherland
- Soprano Vocals [Donna Elvira] – Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
- Soprano Vocals [Zerlina] – Graziella Sciutti
- Tenor Vocals [Don Ottavio] – Luigi Alva
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- System: Special Edition Denon DL 103
- Phono stage: Pro-Ject Phono Box II
- Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
- ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
- Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
- Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
- Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
- Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
- Light de-Clicking with ClickRepair, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising
If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music. Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.
- DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
- Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
- Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5
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