Verdi: Don Carlo - Ottolini, Roberti, Rota, Bastianini, Christoff; Rossi. Torino, 1961


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I must admit that when I saw the cast for this recording of Don Carlo I wasn’t initially whipped into a frenzy of excitement. However, upon listing to this performance I found myself unexpectedly rediscovering a work that I have loved for many years. This is due in no small part to Mario Rossi’s understated yet very effective interpretation of the piece. Rossi favors tempi that are slightly broader. That additional stretch gives the fine cast a chance to really let their voices bloom with the kind of support underneath that exemplifies excellent Verdi singing. American soprano, Margherita Roberti is sublime as Elisabetta. Her voice has both the bloom and cut to stand up the the orchestration along with an angelic quality that makes her helplessness seem all the more tragic. Anna Maria Rota is wild, yet totally secure as Eboli. The stand-out of the cast is certainly Ettore Bastianini who brings an elegance to Verdi that you rarely hear. Boris Christoff eschews many of his over-the-top mannerisms, showing a vulnerable side to Filippo II that goes a long way to soften the character. Luigi Ottolini in the title role may be the weak link but that is likely due to the fact that he is surrounded by greatness. He manages the role quite admirably and there is nothing really bad you could say about his performance except that it lacks inspiration. The sound is very good.

OD 11166-3

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