MOZART Don Giovanni. Nicolai Ghiaurov, Christa Ludwig, Claire Watson, Walter Berry, Nicolai Gedda, Freni, New Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra / Otto Klemperer. Special Edition (with previously unreleased rehearsals and playback sessions) EMI 4cds

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Mozart Don Giovanni Ghiaurov Berry Klemperer Special Edition Emi 4Cds

MOZART Don Giovanni, K527

Don Giovanni.......................…………………….…….........................…Nicolai Ghiaurov

Commendatore....................……………………….…….................................Franz Crass

Donna Anna..................................................................................…Claire Watson

Don Ottavio.........................................…………….................…….........…Nicolai Gedda

Donna Elvira...................................................................................Christa Ludwig

Leporello.............………………………………..............................................Walter Berry

Zerlina.....................................................................................................Mirella Freni

Masetto.........................................................................................Paolo Montarsolo

New Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus / Otto Klemperer

Otto Klemperer was born on 14th May 1885 in Breslau, Silesia (now Wroclaw, Poland) and died on 6th July 1973 in Zurich and hence next year we mark 40 years since his passing. Although disabled by a stroke suffered whilst a brain tumour was being taken out he became a world-renowned conductor whose recordings were the touchstones for the EMI catalogue. Besides the classics of the symphonic repertoire he recorded a number of operas including four by Mozart.

His recording of Don Giovanni was made in June and July 1966 and has been a favourite of many since its release starring as it does Nicolai Ghiaurov a suave young Bulgarian bass then aged 36.

The opera was cast from strength with Nicolai Gedda, Christa Ludwig, Walter Berry, Claire Watson, Franz Crass and Paolo Montarsolo; in the role of Zerlina was the superbly talented Mirella Freni, then aged 31, whose performances as Mimi in an EMI recording and a film with Herbert von Karajan had attracted worldwide attention.

Quite by chance when various tapes were being sorted in EMI’s Abbey Road studios some containing rehearsals, actual takes, play-backs and discussions in the control room were found. This remarkable discovery prompted EMI to commission Jon Tolansky, well-known for his remarkable insights into recording and who has supplied a number of programmes for EMI Classics, to listen to the tapes and use them to make a “documentary in sound” which would demonstrate how parts of this classic recording was made.

He chose the Overture, thereby showing Klemperer’s close attention to orchestral detail, and the opening of Act One Scene Three where the peasants are celebrating the forthcoming marriage of Zerlina and Masetto which brings in two soloists and chorus. Zerlina’s beautiful aria “Batti, batti o bel Masetto” is then recorded with Klemperer clearly adoring – as we all do – Freni’s seductive singing.

The selection is completed with Don Giovanni’s serenade from Act 2 “Deh vieni alla finestra”.

EMI 4cds 7044832

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