Ghiaurov, Freni, and Bumbry were great voices in their time, and they are still effective here -- good enough musicians to put over the quite heavy vocal and expressive demands of their roles. Louis Quilico was never quite in that league, and he sounds a bit spread and woofy in places here, but he works hard and effectively to bring Rodrigo to life. Placido Domingo recorded his first Don Carlo, for EMI with Giulini, about 15 years before this production, but he looks and sounds fine here -- in the early 1980's he was doing very good Otellos and Lohengrins too, and Furlanetto, still in his 30's, brings a rich, young voice to an old part and succeeds in making the Grand Inquisitor vocally as well as expressively formidable. Levine brings both weight and energy to the score, and that reading fits well with the overall "traditional" design and production -- the Met's wardrobe budget must have been severely taxed, but everybody looks splendid.
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