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When Zeffirelli’s Vienna State Opera production first opened in 1979, it was a memorable occasion not just for those in the auditorium but for the thousands watching on television at home. They saw a typical, large-scale, real- istic production with the director’s customary keen eye for detail: everyone on stage is always busily in character. Even the eight horses do their bit. Add some exemplary singing from Elena Obrazstova, on fine form in the title role, Plácido Domingo as an outstanding Don José, Yuri Mazurok a powerful Escamillo and Isobel Buchanan an attractive Micaela, and these factors alone make this a version worth getting. The clincher is the remarkable, mesmeric, close-to-perfection conducting of Carlos Kleiber, who needs to be seen as well as heard.

Guy Fawkes Read the full review on Agora Classica

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