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).
Don Carlo is here presented in the full 5 Act Italian version and this performance is under the inspired direction of Carlo Maria Giulini who had celebrated the 'new' Covent Garden centenary with this opera in 1958. The cast then was different, but the Royal Opera Orchestra and Chorus remain, and they're on cracking form.
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.
James Levine presides brilliantly over the vast musical forces required for Verdi's epic portrait of the Spain of Phillip II, a world in which an individual's choices change the course of nations. Originally telecast in 1980, this famous production frames a superb union of symphonic grandeur and extraordinary vocal artistry within a beautiful setting that captured all the magnificence - and all the terror - of a tumultuous epoch.
Luchino Visconti's famous Covent Garden production (originally from 1958, here revived in 1985) is now available on DVD–the sets are stark, the costumes sumptuous. Luis Lima is the most dramatic and moving Don Carlo on DVD; Ileana Cotrubas is a small scale but touching Elisabetta–tears well up in both their eyes in their final duet. The rest of the cast is fine, especially Zancanaro (Rodrigo) and Lloyd (Philip II). Picture quality is uneven, sound excellent. Haitink is a delicate but effective conductor of the full (3 1/2 hour) score. In general, the most powerful performance available of this most grand of Verdi operas.By C. Harbison (Montague, MA United States)
Those who know Zeffirelli's style won't be surprised by the conventionally lavish production, but it effectively evokes the atmosphere of religious oppression and personal antagonisms Verdi so unerringly depicts. The dark-hued, threatening setting fits Muti's energetic, rhythmically vital conception. He quickens the emotions in a peculiarly Italianate way, and throughout evinces a feeling for the colouring of the score. His reading is in turn a good background for some thoughtful and idiomatic singing.
I just received this DVD from Amazon and was very excited to watch it. Let me be clear…I am a die-hard fan of Montserrat Caballe (LA SUPERBA). I had the great pleasure of seeing her live every time she appeared at the Met in New York City…many, many thrilling performances. She does not fail us here in "Don Carlo". She has a great cast with her..Grace Bumbry (as the great mezzo she was before she made that transition to soprano in the 1970's), Giacomo Aragall, Renato Bruson, Simon Estes and Luigi Roni. The production is from the Theatre Antigue d'Orange in 1984. The Director is Jean-Claude Auvray and the Conductor is Thomas Fulton…both have done an excellent job…By Anthony Rossi (Florida)