As a fan of opera and Verdi, and also of Verdi's amazing opera Don Carlo, I watched this 1992 La Scala production having loved many other productions of it especially the 1984 and 1980 Met productions(I have heard many good things about the 1958 Visconti production though).
This La Scala production while slightly disappointing is still very good and solid. The lavish sets and costumes have Zeffirelli written all over them, Zeffirelli does a fine job directing and the photography is excellent.
Staging-wise, it is a vast majority of the time fine. Dio Che Nell'alma Infondere is staged convincingly, as are Ella Giammai M'ammo, A Mezzanotte and O Don Fatale. The disappointments come in the crowd scenes, which look grand and there is some wonderful chorus singing but are lacking in intimacy.
The story of the opera is compelling, even if the ending is somewhat inconclusive, while the music being one of the more complex Verdi scores alongside Otello is sublime. The orchestra perform impeccably, and overall apart from the occasional rushing at the end of each act Muti's conducting is emotive and precise.
Mostly the performances are great. Luciano Pavarotti is a wonderful singer, however acting-wise he does come across as disengaged, apart from the odd gesture his acting is little more than standing there and singing, part of you wishes that Placido Domingo sung the role. Daniella Dessi sings absolutely beautifully as Elisabetta and she does show some good acting skills but you don't always feel the passion of the character.
While he is not among my favourite Rodrigos/Posas like Sherrill Milnes, Ettore Bastiannini and Renato Bruson, Paolo Coni is still great, showing a considerable ability to act and a warm voice. Alexander Amisimov sings with great power as the Grand Inquisitor and commands the stage even is his significant role is quite small compared to the others.
The best performances come from Luciana D'Intino who is a fiery and melodramatic Eboli and she meets the demands of this difficult role very well, and Samuel Ramey(he mayn't quite be among the greats in the role not like Boris Christoff, Nicolai Ghiaurov and Cesare Siepi, but boy does he come close) who makes for an outstanding King Phillip; vocally he is magnificent and acting-wise he is scary and powerful yet also intelligent and heavily-burdened.
In conclusion, flawed but very solid. 7.5/10 Bethany Cox
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