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Barnaby Rayfield
Fanfare, November 2012

Get over the brutal cuts and the clunky filming, and one can appreciate, sung in German, how Schiller’s play works as opera, especially as Sellner very cleverly ditches Verdi’s silly, supernatural ending. Fischer-Dieskau…is just one reason to make this a Want List entry. Just look at the rest of the cast: James King, Josef Greindl, Martti Talvela, Pilar Lorengar, Lisa Otto. Even an elderly Günther Treptow crops up as Lerma. As I said in my review, we are foolish snobs to dismiss today’s singers, but in German or not, there’s no way we could cast Verdi as well and so easily today. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Albert Innaurato, August 2012

The cast is impressive. James King (Carlos) and Pilar Lorengar (Elisabeth) sound splendid and look great. For once, in King we have a tenor with the right heft and impact for the role; and Lorengar, though as always she sports the pronounced vibrato that divided fans, is in fine form. Rodrigo was a role closely associated with the late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He sings it beautifully, with the written trills (!), excellent spin, and good legato. He makes big choices as an actor; in his difficult death arias, marvelously done, Rodrigo’s love for Carlos and the cause they share shines movingly in his eyes.

Conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch is on fire here; his work is exhilarating but well controlled and powerfully built. He is taut and intense throughout the opera. The orchestra plays well…

This is an out-of-the-mainstream performance, but it is unforgettable. © 2012 Read complete review

David Shengold
Opera News, August 2012

Arthaus’s interesting new issue documents in black and white a 1965 German-language performance in West Berlin…it preserves several major international stars in committed performances under the capable Wolfgang Sawallisch.

The fantastic opening, with brass playing a bit “pitchy,” here lacks the wonted mystery: the Monk (solid house bass Ivan Sardi) delivers his pessimistic insights as a sermon to younger monks. But the temperature rises with the entrance of James King’s restrained, though impassioned and moving, Carlos. A youthful forty, the American tenor had just hit the big time in Bayreuth and would join the Met the following year. It’s a very impressive performance in a fach little associated with King’s legacy; if one puts aside the desire for ideal Italianate sound (Bergonzi?), King proves quite thrilling. Pilar Lorengar, as Elisabeth, is stunning throughout, delivering a deeply moving portrayal in radiant lyric sound. Both offer crystal-clear German. British mezzo Patricia Johnson, lively and flirtatious, shows a fine if not plush sound, with considerable agility for the veil song…The late Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, as Rodrigo, concept of Schiller’s great hero’s stances and shining-eyed a utterances; this part—the role of his opera debut in 1948—fit him better than his other Verdian exploits, and when the singing is soft he provides a lovely legato line.

The picture quality…is remarkably clear. © 2012 Opera News Read complete review

Frank Behrens
Brattleboro Reformer, May 2012

…I am most grateful for ArtHaus Musik’s reissuing performances that were seen on German television many decades ago. Yes, they are in German; yes, they are in black and white. However, after seeing the “Don Carlos” that was telecast in 1965 from the Deutsche Opera Berlin, I have nothing but praise for what I hope will be a series.

Pilar Lorengar shows just the right degree of torment as Elisabeth, the once-betrothed to Carlos and now the Queen to Philipp II (Josef Greindl).

The conductor is Wolfgang Sawallisch.  © 2012 Brattleboro Reformer

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