Bryn Terfel / Renée Fleming / Georg Solti

Mozart: Don Giovanni [1996 Live Recording]

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AllMusic Review by

There are two fundamental flaws in this recording of Mozart's Don Giovanni: the conducting of Georg Solti and the characterization of Bryn Terfel. And, despite the undeniable excellences of the other singers and the orchestra, they are enough to sink this recording. As a conductor, Solti was at his best in the Dionysic, late-Romantic repertoire and at his worst in the Apollonian, high-Classical repertoire. And while Don Giovanni is as close to Romanticism as anything Mozart ever composed, its formal balance and structural poise are as far from Verdi and Wagner as anything anybody ever composed. Nevertheless, from the opening chord, Solti is forcing the music to be more dramatic and far more emotional than it actually is and the result is amazingly wrong headed. As a singer, Terfel is at his best in English vocal music from Handel through Delius, in other words, in repertoire that is more prone to the stentorian and the sentimental than any other. And, while it could be argued -- and Pinza and Siepi certainly made the argument -- that the part of Don Giovanni is as close to Romanticism as anything Mozart ever composed, Terfel's blustering performance and posturing interpretations argues that in fact the title character is as close to parody as anything Mozart ever composed. While Renée Fleming, Monica Groop, and especially Ann Murray are wonderful as the Don's women; Michele Pertusi is marvelous as the Don's servant; and the London Philharmonic is terrific as the pit orchestra, Solti and Terfel are sufficient enough to make this recording unpleasant listening. London's digital sound is warm but hard, clean but harsh.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527
1
5:26
2
5:28
3
0:39
4
6:27
5
1:41
6
3:24
7
2:57
8
5:15
9
1:22
10
2:19
11
1:26
12
2:08
13
2:48
14
0:45
15
1:10
16
1:09
17
4:14
18
3:34
19
2:47
20
4:13

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527
1
1:39
2
1:16
3
1:20
4
3:34
5
0:44
6
4:05
7
2:01
8
2:04
9
1:12
10
4:03
11
3:20
12
0:58
13
2:04
14
4:38
15
2:24
16
2:12
17
1:20
18
2:47
19
2:08
20
3:18

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527
1
0:38
2
4:55
3
2:17
4
2:02
5
0:35
6
4:04
7
2:19
8
4:27
9
4:10
10
3:03
11
0:48
12
7:09
13
4:22
14
3:23
15
6:08
16
4:31
17
1:40
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