LABELS: Decca Legends
WORKS: Don Giovanni
PERFORMER: Cesare Siepi, Suzanne Danco, Lisa della Casa, Fernando Corena, Anton Dermota; Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna PO/Josef Krips
CATALOGUE NO: 466 389-2 ADD Reissue (1955)
Recorded in Vienna in 1955, this set was highly regarded in its day, but there has been far too much really fine competition since then for it to be recommended as a first choice now, though the actual recording stands up well. Cesare Siepi was a handsome, virile Giovanni on stage, and he comes across well on record. The other really fine performances come from Lisa della Casa who sings her two arias quite beautifully, and Fernando Corena who contributes a very believable Leporello. However, Suzanne Danco makes little of Donna Anna, Hilde Gueden’s voice is not really suited to Zerlina’s music. and Anton Dermota’s Ottavio is both bland and somewhat nasal. Walter Berry’s Masetto and Kurt Böhme’s Commendatore are both dull, and Josef Krips conducts limply.
There are several preferable alternatives, the best, in my view, being the one conducted by Giulini for EMI with Eberhard Waechter as Giovanni and Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Graziella Sciutti as three of the ‘mille e tre’ ladies in his life. Charles Osborne