The Greatest Don Giovanni (10CD)

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Cesare Siepi

This music of this 10-CD set from Documents is devoted to one of the great operatic basses of the mid-19th century, the Italian Cesare Siepi. Siepi was particularly renowned for his performances as rogues and seducers, and the title role in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” was one of his specialities. Performing alongside Siepi on these recordings are conductors Wilhelm Furtwangler, Joseph Kripps, Bruno Walter, and Herbert von Karajan, and orchestras and choruses of the Vienna Philharmonic and Vienna State Opera, and the New York Met.

On stage the bass Cesare Siepi was the seducer personified, and during the 1950s and 60s he was seen as the epitome of the character Don Giovanni in Mozart’s opera of that name.

It was the movie recording of the Salzburg Festival production of this work under the direction of Wilhelm Furtwängler that made Siepi an international star. He was also renowned for his performances in the role of a far more dangerous seducer, Mephisto (the devil), in operas by both Gounod and Boito.

Cesare Siepi’s first recordings were made for Italian Radio when he was only 24, and included a performance of the part of King Philip in Verdi‘s “Don Carlo”. It was in 1950 when he heard this that Rudolf Bing brought Siepi over to New York for his opening night as the new head of the Metropolitan Opera. Eight years later Herbert von Karajan hired him for his opening performance as director of the Salzburg Festival. Cesare Siepi remained loyal to the Met for 23 seasons and was seen and heard more than 500 times in 20 roles, including many acclaimed performances in the title role of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro”.

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E canta il grillo


Ave, Signor degli angeli e dei santi! (from Mefistofele)

Son lo Spirito che nega (from Mefistofele)

Ecco il mondo, vuoto e tondo (from Mefistofele)


Visione Veneziana


Occhi di fata


Di sposo, di padre le gioie serene (Rosa)


Le veau d'or est toujours debout (from Faust)

Vous qui faîtes l'endormie (from Faust)

Faust: excerpts


Si la rigeur (from La Juive)


Seigneur, rampart et seul soutien..Piff, paff, piff (from Les Huguenots)

Piff, paff (from Les Huguenots)

Nonnes, qui reposez (from Robert le Diable)


Don Giovanni: excerpts

Le Nozze di Figaro: excerpts

Deh! vieni alla finestra (from Don Giovanni)

Requiem in D minor, K626 - excerpts


La Gioconda (excerpts)

Porter, C:

Night and Day

So in Love

I've Got You Under My Skin


Vecchia zimarra (from La Bohème)


La calunnia è un venticello (from Il barbiere di Siviglia)

Le Femmine d’Italia (L’Italiana in Algeri)


Mia sposa sarà la mia bandiera

Thomas, Ambroise:

Mignon - Excerpts
sung in Italian


La serenata


Non t'amo più!

L'ultima canzone


Vieni, o Levita! … Tu sul labbro dei veggenti (from Nabucco)

Che mai vegg'io … Infelice! e tu credevi (from Ernani)

A te l'estremo addio ... Il lacerato spirito (from Simon Boccanegra)

Ella giammai m'amò (from Don Carlo)

O patria … O tu, Palermo (from I Vespri Siciliani)

La Forza del Destino: excerpts

Don Carlo (excerpts)

Pari siamo! (from Rigoletto)

Ah più non ragiono (from Rigoletto)

Requiem (highlights)