Listen to a Sample:
Carlos Kleiber really only had about five operas in regular rotation during his career, so I was very curious to see what his take would be on one of Verdi's most brilliant and complicated scores. My initial expectation was that it would be a lightening-fast reading a la Toscanini. I was actually quite surprised to find that the tempos were quite reasonable. Kleiber instead creates the energy and dramatic tension through very detailed work on articulation and dynamics. Whether or not he got the kind of rehearsal time that was afforded him when he became superstar I don't know, but under his hand the orchestra becomes the Greek chorus, offering lively and nuanced commentary on the proceedings. The cast is not quite as stellar except for the noble Falstaff of Norman Mittelmann. The sound is good, but sadly there is a chunk missing from Ford's aria to the first few minutes of Act II, scene ii.