(Previous section here.)
And then there’s Jonas Kaufmann as Carlos, who is certainly also a reason to listen to this. His voice sounds deeper and more solid than some other Carloses I have heard; this Carlos is youthful and passionate, but he doesn’t give the character that “confused and in way over his head” vibe.
One of the first things that appears in my notes for this (after “has Carlos gone ice-fishing?” because of the scenery in that first bit) is “what a voice this guy has” followed shortly by “yowza” in connection with some of the phrasing in Carlos’s bit where he’s going on about his “casto amor.”
The last time I saw this opera live a fellow member of the audience decided to boo the conducting. I don’t think he would have boo’d Pappano’s conducting in this Salzburg Carlos – or at least I would not have agreed with him if he had. There were a few parts of this that I wished were a little more spacious, e.g. the ending to “O don fatale” mentioned earlier, and also that little orchestral bit when Posa and Carlos are at Charles V’s tomb and Philip and Elisabeth enter together (it’s in 4, but it’s the part where you hear the strings break into pulses of three notes to a beat). At other times, though I was hearing things that I hadn’t heard before, e.g. the strings and tympani before Posa shows up for the first time, or the flute part in “ella giammai m’amò.” I kept thinking that there was a bizarre amount of the orchestral detail in this opera that I had somehow not noticed before. And Pappano (and the brass of the Vienna Philharmonic) nail that opening section of Act II.