Don Giovanni  (von Karajan;  Waechter, Berry, Price, Valletti, Schwarzkopf, Sciutti, Panerai, Zaccaria)  (3-Myto 00317)
Item# OP2601
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Don Giovanni  (von Karajan;  Waechter, Berry, Price, Valletti, Schwarzkopf, Sciutti, Panerai, Zaccaria)  (3-Myto 00317)
OP2601. DON GIOVANNI, Live Performance, 3 Aug., 1960, w.von Karajan Cond. Eberhard Wachter, Walter Berry, Cesare Valletti, Leontyne Price, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Graziella Sciutti, Rolando Panerai, Nicola Zaccaria, etc. [NB: the singers of the roles of Donna Anna and Donna Elvira are reversed on the traycard]; von Karajan Cond. RAI S.O., Torino: Jupiter Symphony #41 in C, K.551 (Mozart). (E.U.) 3-Myto 00317. - 0801439903173

CRITIC REVIEWS:

"Price soon proved to all that Karajan's enthusiasm was not misplaced. The Austrians marveled over her command of Mozart style, a Donna Anna who not only burned with dramatic fire but also rejoiced in uncommon vocal richness and easy flexibility."

- Peter G. Davis, THE AMERICAN OPERA SINGER, p.515



"Although Valletti was a student of Tito Schipa (from whom he undoubtedly learnt some of the graces of production and interpretation), he was in some aspects a counterpart to his coach. Vallettiis was a light but flexible tenor voice of Italianate lyricism and a rare beauty of tone. His timbre was not as 'sweet' as that of Tito Schipa, Ferruccio Tagliavini or Beniamino Gigli, but he was the most accomplished technician of them all."

- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile



"As one of the younger tenors to emerge soon after World War II, it was obvious that Valletti was an artist whose reputation would be made based on artistic and musical considerations. His musicianship and vocal colour made him an ideal interpreter of Mozart roles, and like Schipa [his mentor], he became a renowned Werther with sensitivity and nuance being the key to his interpretation....he was considered a lyric tenor of the front rank."

- Alan Bilgora, program notes to Pearl's THE CETRA TENORS



"In 1953 Eberhard Wachter made his operatic debut as Silvio at the Vienna Volksoper. From 1954 he was a member of the Vienna State Opera, and in 1963 he was named as Austrian Kammersanger. He made his debut in at London�s Covent Garden as Count Almaviva and his first appearance at the Salzburg Festival as Arbace in IDOMENEO in 1956. In 1958 he made his d�but at the Bayreuth Festival as Amfortas. He sang for the first time at the Paris Op�ra as Wolfram in 1959. In 1960 he sang Count Almaviva at his debuts at Milan's La Scala and Chicago's Lyric Opera. In 1961 he made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Wolfram. In subsequent years, he continued to appear regularly in Vienna, where he created the role of Joseph in Einem's JESU HOCHZEIT in 1980. In 1987 Eberhard Wachter became director of the Vienna Volksoper. From 1991 he was also co-director of the Vienna State Opera."

-Zillah Dorset Akron





Unwittingly [Karajan] had filled the void left by the death of Hitler in that part of the German psyche which craves for a leader. He was unpredictable, ruthless and outspoken. Nobody - at any rate nobody in Austria - ever questioned Karajan's right to do exactly what he wanted. He moved everywhere with a circle of sycophants, who tried to justify their existence by speaking for him whenever possible, and I had to make it clear right away that I could not function at one remove from the conductor. As always, the direct approach worked. I don't think Karajan ever understood how much of his troubles were due to the people he allowed to surround him. Such petty issues often distorted one's view of Karajan the musician.

- John Culshaw, manager of classical recording for Decca, 1967-75





No one would deny von Karajans position in the topmost ranks of 20th-century conductors. Inspired to conduct at the age of 20 when he heard Arturo Toscanini in Vienna, and Wilhelm Furtwngler's great rival from the early 1940s until the older maestro's death in 1954, Mr. Karajan once said that he had attempted to combine Toscanini's precision with Furtwngler's fantasy. But Mr. Karajan was always more than a mere conductor: he was a man of enormous energy and careerist determination, and he managed at his peak, in the late 1950s and early 60s, to tower over European musical life as no one had done before or is likely to do again. His nickname at the time was 'the general music director of Europe,' leading the Berlin Philharmonic, La Scala in Milan, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, the Vienna State Opera and the Salzburg Festival.

Mr. Karajan's life was hardly untouched by controversy. His membership in the Nazi party from 1933, his lack of overt repentance for his thriving career during the Nazi years and his imperious personality made him many enemies. While he was always deeply respected as a conductor, some critics found his music-making increasingly slick and overrefined in his last decades. And his final years were clouded by a series of bitter battles with the Berlin Philharmonic, the West Berlin ensemble whose 'conductor for life' he became in 1955. He abruptly resigned his Berlin post in April, 1989, citing ill health.

Yet for all the tales of arrogance and self-indulgence, Mr. Karajan remained a masterly conductor, with a grasp of the standard orchestral and operatic repertory from Mozart through Schnberg that was unsurpassed among his peers. Always a champion of Mozart, Beethoven - whose symphony cycle he recorded three times - Wagner and Bruckner, he gradually extended his grasp to include Mahler and even Schnberg. He was also a lifelong admirer of Italian opera and, contrary to his domineering image, a champion of young talent, from the American soprano Leontyne Price to the Soviet pianist Yevgeny Kissin.

When critics complained that his performances in his later years had grown overrefined, he replied that 'if the details are right, the performance will work. And to the very end, he drew playing of the utmost tonal beauty from his orchestras. The Berlin Philharmonic is widely regarded as the world's pre-eminent orchestra, if any one ensemble can stake that claim. And his performances at Carnegie Hall with the Vienna Philharmonic drew almost astonished enthusiasm from veteran observers for their sonic sumptuousness, even if not all the critics praised the musical results.

'The Karajan industry bears about the same relation to postwar European music that Krupp bore to prewar European steel production, wrote Martin Mayer in The New York Times Magazine in 1967. The classic, if perhaps apocryphal, Karajan anecdote had the conductor leaping into a taxi and, when asked his destination, replying: 'No matter. I am in demand everywhere. Yet the conductor also had a spiritual side, and was a 40-year student of yoga and Zen Buddhism. He believed in reincarnation, and once dreamed of being reborn as an eagle, soaring above his beloved Alps. Fascinated by technical innovations, he once contemplated being frozen for 15 years so that he could re-record the standard repertory in the latest video and audio technology.

- John Rockwell, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 17 July, 1989





A musical prodigy, appearing on the concert platform as a pianist at the age of five, Herbert von Karajan was appointed chief conductor of the Aachen Opera in 1935. There and later in Berlin his conducting was such a sensation that his reputation in Germany soon came to rival Furtwngler's. He joined the Nazi party in 1933 [and rejoined it in 1935], and in the following years each used the other - he to advance his career and the party to promote its cultural objectives. In 1945 he fled but was discovered in Italy and accused of having been a covert member of the secret police, charges eventually dropped for lack of proof. Karajan conquered every musical capital. He succeeded Furtwngler at the Berlin Philharmonic in 1955, replaced Bhm at the Vienna State Opera in 1956 and was appointed head of the Salzburg Festival in 1957.

- Frederic Spotts, Great Conductors of the Third Reich