Georg Solti / Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus and Orchestra

Mozart: Don Giovanni [1962 Recording/32 Tracks]

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The live recording of Don Giovanni conducted by Georg Solti at the Royal Opera House in 1962 captures an unusually strong performance featuring an outstanding cast of Mozart veterans, many of them at the height of their powers. Cesare Siepi's Don Giovanni (his debut performance at the house) is a model of easy, youthful arrogance, and vocally he's in top form, singing with full, rich tone and agility, tossing off "Fin ch'han dal vino," with effortless-sounding confidence. Geraint Evans is entirely convincing as Leporello, giving him a coarseness that sets him distinctly apart from the Don's refinement, and their interactions have the necessary fleetness to maximize the humor. The women -- Sena Jurinac as Donna Elvira, Leyla Gencer as Donna Anna and Mirella Freni as Zerlina -- are clearly differentiated vocally and dramatically, and each sings with passion and tonal purity. Freni's and Siepi's "Là ci darem la mano" is unusually sensuous, conveying the full extent of the danger into which Zerlina is imminently slipping. Richard Lewis and Robert Savoie deliver strong performances as Don Ottavio and Masetto, and David Ward is genuinely terrifying as the Commendatore. Solti conducts with total mastery of Mozart's psychologically complex score, and the orchestra, with the strings wisely reduced to replicate the size of a Classical orchestra, plays with plenty of snap, and when necessary, fury. The high level of all the performances makes this a version that should be of strong interest to lovers of the opera, even though its sound quality (which is well-balanced and relatively clean for a live recording of the era) doesn't match that of a studio recording.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527
1 06:06
2 06:10
3 08:11
4 05:55
5 05:39
6 06:36
7 04:05
8 02:18
9 04:21
10 06:54
11 04:33

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527
1 04:09
2 04:39
3 04:06
4 04:20
5 08:59
6 02:28
7 06:54
8 03:06
9 04:41
10 04:11
11 07:41
12 02:24
13 04:32
blue highlight denotes track pick