BBC Music Magazine April 2011 "Domingo's much admired Otello is captured here around its peak (1992). The rare La Scala Ernani is a strong souvenir, but the Trovatore under Karajan with a top-notch cast is even more special" ***** Performance **** Picture & Sound This second boxed set of Plácido Domingo’s greatest roles features operas by Verdi. OTELLO In this recording of Otello, Shakespeare’s tragic story of love and intrigue, the title role is sung by Plácido Domingo, who justifiably considers it one of his finest. The role of Desdemona is sung movingly by Kiri Te Kanawa, and the wicked Iago is slyly conceived by leading baritone Sergei Leiferkus, whose ability to convey both nobility and evil makes him most noted for such roles. ERNANI Verdi’s Ernani is a violent and sombre story of frustrated passion, honour fatally impugned, and ambition thwarted and rewarded, set by the young composer to a succession of irresistible tunes. For Luca Ronconi’s production, four of the world’s leading Verdi singers were engaged: Plácido Domingo as the bandit, Ernani; Renato Bruson as the scheming, dangerously suave King Charles of Spain; Nicolai Ghiaurov as the proud Spanish Grandee whose implacable sense of honour propels the action to its tragic conclusion; and Mirella Freni as the gentle heroine desired by these three rivals. IL TROVATORE In this production of Il Trovatore, Karajan not only conducts, but was also the stage director, giving this tale of Spanish nobles and gypsies a dark framework against which Verdi’s music was able to shine all the more brightly. This recording features the talents of Bulgarian soprano Raina Kabaivanska as Leonora, a wealth of vocal experience from Fiorenza Cossotto as the gypsy Azucena, Piero Cappuccilli’s strong portrayal of the Count and Plácido Domingo as a truly lyrical troubadour, Manrico. Bonus: Plácido Domingo speaks at length, with passion and fervour, about each of the roles he sings in these three operas.