Reposted, now with FF links
The best “Don Carlos” – Domingo/Milnes/Raimondi: GREAT
# Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
# Performer: Placido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé, Sherrill Milnes, Ruggero Raimondi
# Orchestra: Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden
# Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
# Vinyl (1971)
# Number of Discs: 3
# Format: Flac
# Label: EMI
# DR-Analysis: DR 14
# ASIN CD: B00004VVZP
# Size: 3.73 GB
# Scan: yes
# Server: FileFactory
An acclaimed and versatile conductor, Carlo Maria Giulini started his musical studies as a violinist, attending the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome. He studied conducting with Bernardino Molinari at Santa Cecilia and Alfredo Casella at Accademia Chigiana in Siena.
After graduation, he joined the Augusteo Orchestra in Rome as a violist. As an orchestral musician, he came in contact with the great conductors of the time, including Strauss, Mengelberg, Walter, Klemperer, and Furtwängler. After receiving his conscription notice for military service during World War II, Giulini, an ardent anti-Fascist, decided to go into hiding.
When the Allies liberated Rome in 1944 he emerged and conducted the orchestra he used to play in (now known as the Orchestra of the Accademia di Santa Cecilia) in a Brahms symphony to celebrate the liberation. This was his debut as a conductor.
Politics, love, and family conflict make a heady brew in Verdi’s masterpiece, originally set to a French text for Paris in 1867. In 1882, the composer made an Italian version with big cuts, lopping off the entire first act, which here is restored by Giulini. His pointed, nuanced conducting makes this recording the best available. An ideal Don Carlo requires the unattainable: five great singers and an expert Verdi conductor. This 1970 set has glorious voices.
This benchmark recording has already earned all the accolades extolled by critics and laymen alike possible, and this one more wouldn’t hurt and wouldn’t tip the balance.
Giulini is undoubtedly the driving force behind this fantastic recreation and realisation of one of Verdi’s greatest operas. The cast of characters are no less worthy of acclaim. No expense was spared in organsing and arranging for this magnificent heaven-sent cast to come together in this union.
Don Carlo was originally written in French and was in five acts. Several other versions appeared, including translations into Italian and what is presented here is the original five act opera, in Italian translation. Some may gripe that the original flow of Verdi’s intentions were lost in the translation, but being as idiomatic as it is, Italian doesn’t jar on the ear and makes an acceptable alternative, and is in fact, the more popular version of the opera.
Domingo’s Carlos, as compared to his later recording in French for DG, is young-sounding. His darker tone in the later recording may bring forth the character’s passion and intensity, but it is this recording in which Domingo made his mark. He sings well, his voice capable of encompassing the tumultous emotions running amok with his character.
Shirley Verrett as Eboli is truly stunning. She charms and seduces with the Veil Song, her voice taking on a languid and sanguine tone. She however, strings it along well, her husky voice purring away like an engine. It is the test-aria, O don fatale, in which she pulls out the stops. She invests totally into the character, physically and mentally. The perilous stretches and reaches of the role’s tessitura are no hurdle for her. Her voice takes on a harsh and relentless quality as she pleads for forgiveness. Her chest notes are remarkable for their depth and intensity. No less respectable are the high notes which she hits effortlessly and spot-on.
Raimondi as Filippo is a tortured soul in torment. His gravelly voice may not be as dark as preferable, but it is convincing. His anguish and pain is clearly felt. Milnes’ Rodrigo is executed without any major hitch as well. His duets with Domingo are well-sung, with the voices blending. The supporting cast is also deserving of their bouquets.
The star of the show must be Montserrat Caballe. As Elisabetta, she may be less than involved and immersed, but her singing is top-notch and of the highest standard. Her voice is perfectly suited for this regal role. Lush, plush and rich, her singing more than makes up for her character development. As demanding as the test-aria in the final act is, Caballe aces it by her reading. Her tone, full and concentrated, she builds up the aria from scratch and imbues in the role an intensity unmatched and a delicacy unheard of. She ends the aria by stringing the last phrase together in a long-held pianissimi straight from the heavens.
A pity is that she did not “misbehave” in this recording. She has been known on two other occasions, to end the opera with a literal bang. She emits a blood curdling scream to bring out the opera and where most other sopranos would let the orchestral chords do their part, she has sucessfully held on to her scream, closing the scene, the act and the opera in tandem with the ochrestra. This would have meant at least a 20 second hold of a top note at maximum volume!
Giulini leads the Royal Opera House Orchestra in a taut and incisive performance. The lower strings are notably poignant.
This is the benchmark and reference recording and it is justly so. Get it or regret it!
Analyzed folder: /96kGV_DoCa_Dom/96k Verdi Don Carlos Domingo
DR Peak RMS Filename
DR14 -1.12 dB -21.62 dB sideA.wav
DR15 -1.34 dB -22.24 dB sideB.wav
DR13 -1.01 dB -19.47 dB sideC.wav
DR14 -0.65 dB -20.09 dB sideD.wav
DR15 -1.37 dB -21.65 dB sideE.wav
DR15 -1.15 dB -21.44 dB sideF.wav
Number of files: 6
Official DR value: DR14
- RCM: Okki Nokki
- TT: Clearaudio Champion Level II
- Cartridge: Limited Edition Denon DL103 SA
- Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box II
- Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
- 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 iZotope, 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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