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George Dorris
Ballet Review, January 2009

"For those wishing an unembellished second recording [of Don Giovanni], I heartily recommend this 1936 Glyndebourne one, the first ever and still among the most stylishly sung and conducted, with an evenly matched cast. It's a special performance of a great work."



Turok’s Choice, January 2002

"No Mozart opera recordings have had a greater chance than these. In those days, when complete Mozart opera recordings hardly existed, this Don Giovanni presented the work in an undistorted, intensely musical way. The set may please sentimental listeners, and it certainly belongs in every reference collection."




Mortimer H. Frank
Fanfare, November 2001

Its judicious pacing, dramatic flair, sense of style, and remarkably apt casting boast miracles that have not been matched in any subsequent recording. As superbly remastered in a new Naxos edition, this reissue-at effectively one-tenth the price of what the original 78s cost-is not so much a “bargain” as a giveaway.



Jim Svejda
The Record Shelf, October 2001

"This famous recording enshrines one of the most vivid and life-like performances of Mozart's darkest and greatest opera. John Brownlee giving the performance of his life in the title role, the canny basso buffo Salvatore Baccaloni as that funniest of Leporellos, the fiery American Ina Souez as an unusually strong-willed Donna Anna and John Christie's wife, Audrey Mildmay, as a lovely (if slightly mature) Zerlina. Yet the real star of the show is Fritz Busch, a refugee from Hitler's Germany. There are many who consider him the finest Mozart conductor of the period, a man whose interpretations combined the wit and brilliance of Sir Thomas Beecham's with the warmth and humanity of Bruno Walter's...This is one of the greatest ensemble recordings. If even in the meticulous remastering by Ward Martson the record sound has long since been surpassed, the performance probably never will be. As a bonus, the third CD includes a series of Golden Age recordings of excerpts from the opera sung by such paragons as Feodor Chaliapin, Elisabeth Rethberg, Ezio Pinza and Elisabeth Schumann, making an already invaluable release absolutely irresistible.



Alan Blyth
Gramophone, July 2001

"This must be the most 'transferred' set in recording history. Now, through the magic of Ward Marston, master of restoration, it appears in its most amenable form ever, far superior to the Pearl version and even an improvement on EMI's own (at any caseunavailable, it seems, at present). Given the asking-price, this is a bargain indeed...

Helletsgruber, a Viennese favourite of the day, is at once an angry, impassioned, sympathetic Elvira, vocalising the role perfectly. The Hungarian tenor Pataky is the most mellifluous and concerned of Ottavios, his 'Dalla sua pace' as soothing as it should be. Above all Baccaloni is a Leporello whose wily personality lifts off the disc in both recitative and aria. Brownlee may sound a shade too upright by today's idea of what Giovanni should be like (vide Thomas Allen), but his vocal style is impeccable and combines well with Baccaloni's. There must be some reservations about the English members of the cast, who all sound too respectable for their roles, but Mildmay compensates for sounding too ladylike by the sensitivity of her Zerlina.

Busch uses a piano instead of a fortepiano, which is a slight drawback. There are no texts or translations but informative notes. Altogether this is a purchase nobody will ever regret at the price. To add to the value of the issue, you get some celebrated inter-war artists singing arias and duets from the opera with great individuality."



Robert Levine
ClassicsToday.com, May 2001

"This was the first recorded complete Don Giovanni, made at the Glyndebourne Festival's third season, and it remains a very special performance indeed. The wonderful Fritz Busch leads a theatrical, warm, smiling performance, filled with real people, and the performance lives. It is not a set that easily lends itself to excerpts, and there are few 'star turn' moments; rather, whole scenes simply click and the opera moves along as convincingly as any on disc. John Brownlee sings very well as the Don, and if he is not the last word in charm, he's among the first in clarity and singularity of purpose. As his servant, Salvatore Baccaloni, a young man at the time, is ideal-never too unctuous, always entertaining, occasionally touching.

"Koloman von Pataky is a good Ottavio without knocking any others out of the park, and the other men sound as if they actually lived at Glyndebourne rather than Seville--veddy proper. Ina Souez is a potent, accurate Anna; Luise Helletsgruber misses a few notes and finds no joy in Elvira, but she's very believeable nonetheless; and Audrey Mildmay (as Zerlina) is a bit precious for my taste. The sound on this remaster is the best ever, though still very 'historical'. As a document this is invaluable; as a performance it's quite something as well. As a bonus, Naxos includes some arias from the opera recorded in the 1920s and '30s; Ezio Pinza is an amazing Don, Richard Tauber's Ottavio is suavity itself, and Feodor Chaliapin's Leporello is practically visible. A nice lagniappe."



Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"This production has wonderfully crisp ensemble work from soloists and orchestra alike. The hand-picked soloists work together beautifully."






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