Mozart: Don Giovanni - R. Raimondi, M. Price, Varady, Popp, Dean, Winkler, Moll; Sawallisch. München, 1973
Listen to a Sample:
The ideal performance of Don Giovanni is the combination of a cast of singers which both excels in the notoriously difficult arias and can form a cohesive unit in the ensembles. This Don Giovanni hits the mark of both fronts. The title role is played by Ruggero Raimondi. I have known many people who have not liked him but for me he is one of the best Dons around. He is well capable of the requisite suavity, but he also brings black bass tones, reminding you of the character's malevolence without turning him into a stock villain. Margaret Price defines what a Mozart soprano should be. She has both the purity of tone and the slancio which she uses with great restraint and style as one should. Julia Varady brings hot Hungarian temperament to the role of Elvira. Thankfully she has enough sense to not take the comic elements over the top rendering the character a dimwit as is often done in productions. Lucia Popp as Zerlina brings a full voice and shows the feminine side of this character. "Vedrai Carino" is truly sexy. And I have to mention Kurt Moll as the Commendatore. His dark basso cantante enhances every opera he is in no matter how brief the part. Wolfgang Sawallisch leads a spirited performance. Only occasionally does he lean to the ponderous side. The sound is as close as you can come to perfect.