MOZART: "DON GIOVANNI." Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Agnes Baltsa, Kathleen Battle, Samuel Ramey, Goesta Winbergh, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Paata Burchuladze; Chorus of the Deutsche Oper, Berlin; Berlin Philharmonic conducted by Herbert von Karajan. DG 419179-2 (three compact discs). Karajan's first ever commercial recording of this dramma giocoso pretty much leaves the giocoso element on the title-page. The opera emerges as broadly Romantic and unremittingly tragic in concept, with the full complement of the Berlin strings slurring every chord in Karajan's dark parable of damnation. Thanks to the conductor's scrupulous attention to dynamics, the opening scene and the banquet provide genuine thrills, even if those thrills look askance at current notions of 18th-Century performance practice. But this recording may also feature some of the more sober peasants in the Mozart annals. Except for Burchuladze's formidable Commendatore, the men, including Ramey's youthful but unengaging libertine, sound traumatized by Karajan's approach. The women offer less inhibited performances. Tomowa-Sintow pours out Anna's rage and even manages an appoggiatura or two. Baltsa's indignantly lively Elvira is composed by her distinctive mezzo timbre, and Battle is a minx of a Zerlina. DG's rich sonics balance voices and orchestra adequately.