Luciano Pavarotti (Don Carlo), Samuel Ramey (Filippo II), Paolo Coni (Rodrigo), Daniela Dessi (Elisabetta), Luciana D’intino (Eboli), Alexander Anisimov (Il Grande Inquisitore), Marilena Laurenza (Tebaldo), Nuccia Focile (Una voce dal cielo), Orfeo Zanetti (Il Conte di Lerma), Mario Bolognesi (Un Araldo Reale), Un Araldo Reale (Un Frate)
“If you want the edition of the work revised in Italian by Verdi, first performed in 1884, this is your only choice to date on DVD – and it proves, as it did on VHS, a satisfying experience. The work in this form is tauter and more direct than the five-act French original caught on the DVD of the Chatêlet production conducted by Pappano. 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. Pavarotti delivers Carlo's music in a typically fervent manner, words ideally placed on the voice and his tone consistently firm and pliable. His girth makes him unconvincing as the small, lean, nervous Carlo of history, but his simple, sincere acting is its own advocate. Daniella Dessì looks the very image of the wronged, sympathetic Elisabetta and sings with feeling and good phrasing. Paolo Coni offers a concerned, upright Rodrigo, sung in warm tones though he sometimes loses focus under pressure. Zeffirelli's video direction is well fashioned and the sound picture catches the aural ambience of La Scala. As a whole, this is a vivid experience.”
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