Notes and Editorial Reviews
"The recording taken from the broadcast premiere at the Wiener Staatsoper on October 18, 2004, appears to be the first complete realization of the original score submitted by Verdi to the administration of the Paris Opera in 1866. It includes omissions that were made just before opening night, such as an offstage chorus to the accompaniment of mandolins, tambourines, and castanets, and a highly dramatic extension of the duet of Philip and Carlos over the dead Rodrigo. This last was cut against Verdi’s will because of the tenor’s vocal troubles, and the baritone’s feeling it beneath his dignity to lie on the floor so long after his aria. All of the reinstated material brings the length of the opera to a little over four hours, as opposed to the later three-hour Italian version, but adds greatly to the dramatic depth of the work and makes the personality and motivations of the characters more clear and believable. It is interesting to note that the auto-da-fe and the opera’s final denouement do not occur in Schiller’s play. According to Schiller, Philip II hands his son, Carlo, over to the Grand Inquisitor and that is an end of it.
In this auspicious performance the major contributors are the brilliant orchestra, the chorus, and the conductor, Bertrand de Billy, who draws from these ensembles a breathtaking dramatic thrust, the precision one expects of a string quartet, and a display of magnificent tone that grips the listener from first note to last."
- Raymond Beegle, Fanfare Magazine