Here is a link to the recording: http://www.amazon.com/Puccini-Turand...6541682&sr=8-1
I purchased this used yesterday, and was excited to receive it. Turandot is my favorite opera, and I've listened to and seen many recordings. I was most interested for two reasons: Placido Domingo as Calaf, and Herbert von Karajan conducting. I've listened to and viewed von Karajan conducting pretty much every orchestral work there is, but never an opera.
The lowdown: I was disappointed. I'm comparing this mainly to my two favorite recordings - Zubin Mehta: http://www.amazon.com/Puccini-Turand...6541846&sr=8-1 and the video version of my favorite recording: http://www.amazon.com/Puccini-Turand...6541878&sr=1-1. I thought those two were superior. My main complaint throughout the entire work is the lack of passion - I'm not sure if it was a production issue - which may entirely be. I thought the tempi were ALL very slow and unexciting. Two points that struck me as VERY lethargic were the finale of act I, where Calaf is singing with most of the cast, when he decides to take the Princess' test. The climax is amazing, and to see Domingo sing it live on the DVD version above, and hear it on this recording it was night and day. I also had a feeling that Domingo had an off day. It seemed like his high notes were all cut short, and the typical 'ping' in his voice was not there. I usually prefer his recordings to those of Pavoratti, because I like his Wagnerian timbre for the lead rolls. Pavoratti, to me, comes off a little weak - but Pavoratti's recording is superior vocally to this recording. The von Karajan recording did have it's good notes. I thought the clarity of the choral work was very good, the orchestra was for the most part clear, especially in the percussion section, which sometimes gets lost in other recordings because of the thickness of the score. Regarding the other singers, again, mediocre to my ears. Barbara Hendricks suffered from the same issues as Placido Domingo - a lack of energy and forward movement - basically - no passion. Turandot is known as one of the most difficult roles for a dramatic soprano, and Katia Ricciarelli did an admirable job. Ping Pang and Pong? Blah blah and blah - no blend, no energy, etc.
For those looking to get into opera, this is my favorite, and there are some FANTASTIC recordings and fantastic moments (Act III where Liu sings once she is confronted by Turandot, as the one person who knows his true name is one of the greatest moments in Opera to me), but I would recommend the other two recordings I listed above as a starter.
I'm interested if any other Opera lovers share my view of this recording.