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Graham Vick’s dull production for the Vienna State Opera was the very first live performance I reviewed for Opera Now, back in December 1998, so do I stand by my original assessment of its musical attributes? Listening to this live recording I think that on the whole I got it right on the night. Neil Shicoff’s tenor is perhaps not ideally Verdian, but it possesses an excellent mixture of sensitive phrasing and squillo, just what the role needs. Even without her dispiriting stage presence, Michèle Crider’s soprano still sounds unimaginative. The voice promises much, an often rich firm tone and some secure high notes, but also has a tendency to lose focus and gain shrillness. Carlos Àlvarez’s Don Carlo has no such problems and sails through the role and Roberto Scandiuzzi’s bass is caught at its peak. Seiji Ozawa, not a Verdian, conducts a detailed and thoughtful account of the score, though sometimes one would like him to throw caution to the winds and just get on with it. Curiously boxy sound detracts from the performance.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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