OP0111. DON GIOVANNI, Live Performance, 27 July, 1953, Salzburg, w.Furtwängler Cond. Vienna Staatsoper Ensemble; Cesare Siepi, Otto Edelmann, Anton Dermota, Elisabeth Grümmer, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Erna Berger, Walter Berry & Raffaele Arié; Erna Berger Recital. (Germany) 3-Archipel 0162. Long out-of-print, final copies! - 4035122401622
“Saying that this is a great DON GIOVANNI, a great Furtwängler DON GIOVANNI, and one of the greatest DON GIOVANNIs of the twentieth century is hardly to exaggerate the importance of this recording. Made on 27 July, 1953, at the Salzburg Festival, it preserves a performance by one of the best casts ever assembled for the opera -Cesare Siepi, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Elisabeth Grümmer, Anton Dermota, Otto Edelmann, Erna Berger and Walter Berry - backed by the best orchestra for the opera - the Vienna Philharmonic - and led by surely the greatest German conductor of the twentieth century. Under Furtwängler, the singers and players create a DON GIOVANNI that is fiery, passionate, romantic, metaphysical, and occasionally hilarious. While some listeners might legitimately prefer a lighter or funnier performance of DON GIOVANNI, and other listeners might prefer a cleaner or clearer recording of DON GIOVANNI, anyone who loves the work or the conductor will love this performance and, despite its conspicuous blemishes, this recording. Indeed, for those who love Furtwängler, the question will be whether or not to get a third Furtwängler DON GIOVANNI. Already in circulation are two performances from the 1954 Salzburg Festival with mostly the same stellar cast, one a sound recording and one a video recording of surprisingly good quality. Of course, for the true Furtwängler aficionado, the opportunity to hear the fabled 1953 Don Giovanni will be irresistible so the question is essentially moot.”
- James Leonard, allmusic.com
"Though the casts were a gathering of eagles, there were significant differences between them. The singers in 1953 were the more important, not only because they meshed to form a more finely honed and tuned ensemble, but also because they were in closer accord with Furtwängler’s monolithic view of the score (a view more strongly implemented in 1953, perhaps due in part to a move from the Festspielhaus to the larger, open-air Felsenreitschule)....Schwarzkopf remains the ideal Elvira, even more fiery in 1953 than in 1950....We are fortunate to have this monumental performance...."
- John Ardoin
“The Furtwängler-Salzburg performances were virtually a roll call of the foremost Mozartean singers of the day, who were molded (with few exceptions) into an ensemble force that amounted to a single constellation rather than a mere juxtaposition of stars….Nothing is rigid; there are none of the false conceptions of style, prevalent with many conductors….”
- John Ardoin, THE FURTWÄNGLER RECORD, pp.100 & 103