Lloyd and Villazon are the winners here. Lloyd occasionally sounded a little distant, particularly at the beginning of the big aria 'Ella giammai m'amo'', but it seemed to me that he was placed to far back in the stage and would have sounded better a little closer up. Otherwise, he was a delight. His acting was wonderful.
Villazon was almost perfect. I enjoyed his acting, perhaps even along with the stage direction. He protrayed Don Carlo as a much weaker individual than the hero is generally protrayed and really, that seems to be the nature of the original real personality of Don Carlo. I found his acting realistic and very involved and his singing both beautiful and impassioned.
Urmana was very good as Eboli, the one thing missing being the frightening chest voice you often hear in this role. She has a solid chest voice, just not as exciting as one could wish for. However, at the end of 'O Don Fatale', her high notes were so big and free, it was quite thrilling. You could tell the audience felt the same way, so it made up for any lack in the lower range. Also she seemed very committed to the role from a dramatic standpoint.
Dwayne Croft - very pleasant singing and decent acting. 'Nuff said there.
The Grand Inquisitor - quite acceptable.
Amanda Roocroft - the worst cast of the principles. She sounded terribly pushed at the top. However 'Tu che le vanita' came off quite nicely. Her acting was very good.
The sets: Fake marble mausoleum-like. Very nice if it were for one scene or so, like maybe as the two church scenes. But the same backdrop is used for every scene, making no sense whatsoever.
The costumes: The worst - all in a puritanical dark grey or light grey. These are Spanish nobles and they are Catholic. I felt like I was watching a story about Quakers. Although they did take the felty-marbly-grey material and sew them into something like sixteenth-century fashion. So the felty material did not hang appropriately and everyone had a huge rear end with Don Carlo appearing to wear a diaper. Also, Amanda Roocroft, who is a young-looking, slim woman, looked fat (big felty butt) and old (dark and ugly makeup covering her pretty face).