I had always loved Verdi, but since having a Verdi marathon with the likes of Pavarotti, Freni, Scotto, Stratas, Domingo, Milnes, Cappuccilli, Plishka and Ghiaurov I adore him even more than I already did. Not a day goes by since I start listening to a bit of La Traviata, Rigoletto and Otello to name a few.
Don Carlo(s) is a wonderful opera with an interesting story(if you do forgive the inconclusive ending, but it is also very poignant here) and one of Verdi's most complex scores. Not just in Carlo and Rodrigo's duet, Rodrigo's death scene and King Phillip's lament but here especially the duet between Rodrigo and Phillip, which is utterly riveting in lyrics, music and staging.
This is a terrific production. The sets and costumes while traditional are wonderful, the lighting is done to an impressive degree and the camera work is impressive with thankfully not too many close-ups. The staging is imaginative and does well to stick to the tone of the music's mood, with Rodrigo and Phillip's duet coming off best. The conducting is energetic and the orchestra perform with real panache, not one moment of this production feels restrained or cold orchestration wise.
The performances are superb. Roberto Alagna gives vocally one of his better performances, and his stage presence is ideal and dashing. Karita Mattila is one of the best Elizabeths/Elisabettas for me, her voice is perfect for the role with gorgeous sustained pianissimo singing and for Verdi and her acting is even better, very touching. Waltraud Meir is a fine Eboli-apart from a woolly Veil Song- and Eric Halfvarsen is a genuinely frightening Grand Inquisitor. The best of the lot is Jose Vam Dam as a scary(not quite as scary as Ghiaurov and Plishka, the latter of whom gets my vote as having the scariest angry facial expression of any King Phillip, or as poignant as Boris Christoff who gives the most moving rendition of Phillip's lament of any bass) yet intelligent and heavily-burdened Phillip, though his low F in the Grand Inquisitor scene is a disappointment, and Thomas Hampson as a noble Rodrigo(one of my favourites in the role along with Milnes, Bastianini and Renato Bruson). The chorus are also very well balanced.
In fact, there is nobody or anything really I would consider as bad really. The only grey area is Hampson's wig, which is terrible but in a hilarious way. Overall, just terrific and a must for any opera enthusiast or newcomer to opera. 10/10 Bethany Cox
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?