Verdi's Don Carlo is a problematic piece. Should it be in Italian or French? How much of the original French musical setting should be included? I've known this set for a while and have some reservations about the singing, that of the women in particular, but it's the inclusion of the whole of Verdi's original First Act which makes the set worth acquiring.
Between 1960 and 1981, the music label Deutsche Grammophon recorded the eight greatest operas composed by Verdi at La Scala in Milan, the home of Italian operas. World’s leading singers and conductors were involved in the recording. The result provides you with the best possible way to get familiar with Verdi’s operas...
Bellini’s penultimate opera – written for La Fenice, Venice, in 1833 – has never enjoyed the popularity of such works as La sonnambula, Norma and I puritani. Listening to this vintage Joan Sutherland recording dating from 1966, it is hard to fathom why. The story is strong and stirring – a sort of cross between Maria Stuarda and La Gioconda – and offers fine roles for the wronged titular heroine, her villainous husband Filippo, her platonic admirer Orombello and his would-be mistress, Agnese del Maino (a Princess Eboli avant la lettre). How odd that Sutherland never managed to persuade Covent Garden to mount it for her, especially with this glorious cast. The Decca set is historic because it offered the legendary Sutherland/Pavarotti collaboration for the first time on disc. Luciano is wonderfully stylish here, elegant and ringing: Nureyev, vocally-speaking, to Sutherland’s Fonteyn. La Stupenda was going through one of her ‘moony’, muddy-diction phases, but the vocalism is quite dazzling. It’s a joy to encounter Josephine Veasey in her only commercially recorded Italian role: velvet-toned, shining, she is Sutherland’s most lustrous mezzo rival in any bel canto recording. (BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE)
Teatro Regio’s 2013 revival of their highly successful 2006 production of Verdi’s Don Carlo celebrates the 40th anniversary of the theatre’s reopening in 1973. With traditional staging and lavish costume design, the production garnered high acclaim in the national and international press, with GB Opera commending the ‘sumptuous’ setting and French online music magazine ResMusica praising director Hugo de Ana’s decision to revive the show ‘in all its splendour’. Shown here in the four-act version, Don Carlo is the fascinating tale of father-son power struggles, adultery and love that borders on incest. The cast – under the powerful baton of Gianandrea Noseda – is headed by renowned Mexican tenor Ramón Vargas, and also features Ludovic Tézier, who has been hailed as ‘one of the best Verdian singers of our time’ (ResMusica).