Performer: Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Eberhard Waechter, Gottlob Frick
Orchestra: Philharmonicia Chorus and Orchestra
Conductor: Carlo Maria Giulini
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Number of Discs: 3
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: EMI Classics
Size: 686 MB
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Philharmonia Chorus, London Philharmonia Orchestra
with Gottlob Frick, Professor Heinrich Schmidt, Luigi Alva, Graziella Sciutti, Piero Cappuccilli, Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Eberhard Wachter, Giuseppe Taddei
Conducted by Carlo Maria Giulini, Roberto Benaglio
A Triumph of Arms
While there are any number of masterpieces afield in his corpus, there are two instances where Mozart asks himself “To what more vast permission have I come?” They occur with the commencement of Figaro and Don Giovanni, as if Mozart has come to the realisation that destiny in each instance is in play.
The world does not need a hack from the Penal Colonies to critique this venerable and evergreen performance of K 527 whose stellar qualities have been evident since genesis. Lasciviousness, volatility and exuberance – they’re present in spades. Recitatives are a delight. Nor is Giulini – as he was later to become – an inducement to slip away to the Land of Nod. Rather, I want to record my singular debt to Schwarzkopf for her manifestation of Donna Elvira as an avenging angel: this is a tour de force and her greatest achievement by far. Similarly, the contribution of the young Sutherland is one for the ages. More so than the fish and loaves, her account of ‘Or sai chi l’onore’ is miraculous. With so much rectitude at hand, I can live with a Don Giovanni whose voice lacks resonance and all the more so as Waechter so incarnates the eponymous anti-hero as a Wombat (eats roots and leaves).
As always, run with the earlier remastering and avoid the Great Recordings of the Twentieth Century hatchet-job where hiss is regarded as Cong.