The Trio series has already yielded some excellent reissue material and this budget priced 'Don Carlo' can lay claim to being one of the most desirable of items on the shopping list for the opera lover who is on a low budget.
That does not mean that this recording is in any way inferior. Having been available at full price for some years, Haitink's ROHO relay of this splendid opera now goes down the rung, more than likely due to the fact that poor sales across the board are leading the majors to the bin end reissue market in the hope to recoup some of the vast losses made on such gargantuan projects.
Haitink directs with aplomb and has a real feel for the grand Verdian conception especially in the majestic Fontainbleu music that always remains one of my firm favourites. Scandiuzzi is an underrated Filippo II and his voice is always very pleasing to the ear whilst Margison's Don Carlo is also of top drawer quality.
The young Hvorostovsky is also an excellent reason for one to acquire this set as he turns out an outstanding performance of Posa whilst Robert Lloyd is also quite imposing as the Inquisitor. The whole set is well played, well sung and well engineered but ultimately falls short of that perennial classic, Giulini's version on EMI Great Recordings of the Century which continues to stride above the rest. However, the discerning beginner could do far worse than acquire this set to learn the work and add the Giulini to his/her collection later.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech