Don Carlos
CHAN 3162
The Daily Telegraph
'This is a well integrated, cleanly delineated performance of Don Carlos in its truncated four-act version, based on performances given last year by Opera North. The cast is good overall, but the outstanding element is Richard Farnes's forceful and vivid conducting of a finely responsive orchestra.'
Opera in four acts
Libretto by Joseph Méry and Camille du Locle
after Schiller
English translation by Andrew Porter
The Cast
Alastair Miles, bass - Philip II
Julian Gavin, tenor - Don Carlos
William Dazeley, baritone - Rodrigo
John Tomlinson, bass - The Grand Inquisitor
Janice Watson, soprano - Elisabeth de Valois
Jane Dutton, mezzo-soprano - Princess of Eboli
Julia Sporsén, soprano - Thibault
Stephen Briggs, tenor - Count of Lerma
Clive Bayley, bass - An old monk
Rebecca Ryan, soprano - Voice from Heaven
Campbell Russell, tenor - Royal Herald
Julian Close, bass - Flemish Deputy
Grant Doyle, baritone - Flemish Deputy
Stephen Richardson, bass - Flemish Deputy
Galloway Bell, bass - Flemish Deputy
Stephen Dowson, baritone - Flemish Deputy
Chorus of Opera North
Orchestra of Opera North
Alexander Ingram - assistant to the conductor
Richard Farnes - conductor
Recorded in Leeds Town Hall, 26-30 May 2009
Producers - Brian Couzens (Executive) and Brian Pidgeon
Sound engineer - Ralph Couzens
Assistant sound engineer- Jonathan Cooper
‘Opera North have much of which they can be justly proud. Under Richard Farnes, the orchestra playing will stand comparison with the acknowledged best. The strings achieve admirable precision and beauty of tone, and there is an outstanding cellist playing the meditative solo in the Prelude to Act 3. The style also impresses as bearing the imprint of a genuine Verdi conductor with paying where, at times, one feels as though the instruments are contributing their own apt dialogue to the drama.’
BBC Music Magazine
‘Opera North’s choral and orchestral forces are both splendid, and conductor Richard Farnes proves a superb interpreter of the score. The scale and perspective of the recording are beautifully managed.'
Opera News
‘Before balking at the notion of Verdi in English, consider that Don Carlos, unique among standard-repertory operas, is commonly performed in the wrong language - a clumsy Italian translation of the original French. Andrew Porter, author of the excellent translation on this recording, has written that the Italian version”casts a film of rich, thick sludge over the clarity of the original”... The immediacy of the vernacular makes for a moment-to-moment apprehension of Verdi’s great drama. Take the Philip-Rodrigo confrontation which ends Act 1... the psychology guiding the change in mood becomes all the more comprehensible when we hear Philip sing “that’s enough! The King has heard what you said!” - words that simultaneously coney the monarch’s authority, his anger and his sharp-witted ability to sidestep the conflict. The recording derives from a 2009 Opera North production, and although it made in a studio, it benefits from its theatrical roots... Julian Gavin, as the title character, has real Verdian metal in his tenor... The thoughtfulness of William Dazeley’s singing allows him to portray Rodrigo’s intelligence, and to create long. justly proportioned phrases in his death scene. Alastair Miles... succeeds in projecting the complexity of Philip’s character, and in conveying the tragic bind of his situation. Best of all is John Tomlinson, the recording’s Grand Inquisitor. The aural evidence of aging is entirely appropriate to the character, as is the voice’s awesome scale. His Inquisitor is as terrifying in his offhand relegation of Carlos to the executioner’s block as he is in his thunderous condemnation of Posa. The Grand Inquisitor scene takes its rightful place here as the centerpiece of the epic drama. Don Carlos has has never seemed to me so grand a tragedy as it does on this set.’
Classic FM
'The 2009 revival of Opera North’s production of Don Carlos got terrific reviews for its dramatic intensity, and, judging from this studio recording, it’s little wonder.The central releationships are full of passion, the conducting is full-blooded, and the huge auto-da-fé scene feels terrifyingly spectatcular.'