Verdi: Don Carlo / Karajan, Freni, Baltsa, Carreras, Raimondi
Better still, many of the exaggerations and eccentricities on that 1978 studio performance–very loud passages followed by almost inaudible ones, odd ritards, etc.–are gone from this reading, but the nobility remains. It’s still on the slow side (Eboli’s “O don fatale” is amazingly slow, but brilliantly performed, with true grief, by Agnes Baltsa (sound clip) who handles every long breath and every high note as if the aria were easy) and there’s still the occasional weird cut (part of Elisabetta’s farewell to her Countess friend, the second verse of the Veil song). However, the Philip and Grand Inquisitor–Ruggero Raimondi and Matti Salminen–are breathtaking here. Freni is just as good; Baltsa is better, and Carreras is still the Don Carlo to hear in the 1970s–a just-about-perfect performance. Piero Cappuccilli’s Posa is warmer than before but just as full voiced. This is a must have, even if the libretto is not included.
-- Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Catalog Number: ORF-C876133
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble: Vienna State Opera Orchestra
Performer: Agnes Baltsa, Edita Gruberova, José Carreras, Marjon Lambriks, Matti Salminen, Piero Cappuccilli, Ruggero Raimondi, Thomas Moser