Don Giovanni [Blu-ray]
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The lavish production is stunning to look at, with great art direction (by Alexandre Tauner) and cinematography (by Gerry Fischer), a very attractive cast, and of course, Mozart's score, which I think is his most sublime masterpiece.
The singers are excellent: Kiri Te Kanawa as Donna Elvira, and Edda Moser as Donna Anna really shine above all, both so lovely and graceful, and vocally wonderful. Moser especially manages to be emotionally expressive. Ruggero Raimondi is a fine Don Giovanni, Jose Van Dam a rather elegent Leporello, with John Macurdy as Il Commendatore, Kenneth Riegel as Ottavio, Teresa Berganza as Zerlina, and Malcolm King as Masetto rounding out the cast well.
The sound: The volume fluctuates depending on where the singer is placed in the scene, fading out as they walk away for instance, which is dramatically appropriate, but a musical disaster. There is a quartet that is bizarre in its balance, since two of the singers are in the background. Lorin Maazel conducts the Paris Opera, which in this, and other recordings I have heard, does not have the richest and fullest sound in the world, and may be adding to the problems.
The Don's demise however, starting with the Commendatore's "Don Giovanni a cenar teco" is marvelous, and despite the camera inexplicably lingering on the servant boy instead of the action at times, it is a riveting scene, with some of the most superb music ever written.
Though well worth viewing, I would put this film into the "rent not buy" category, unless one is an inveterate opera collector.
This movie suffers from technical flaws in the filming, sound production, DVD transfer, etc. There is even an encoding mistake in the DVD that overlaps for about 5 seconds of audio at one point, though overall the audio and video are cleaned up from the previous VHS/PAL releases.
What I can say without hesitation is that it is akin to viewing Michelangelo's David, through a broken and slightly hazy window. Once you forget about the lens, you will never see anything to compare to what you are seeing. And the clarity of the window does not in any way reflect on the actual miracle.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Best film of an Opera I have ever seen. This is a masterpiece.Published 5 months ago by LagunaBookWorm
This DVD film is indispensable to any opera lover. The singing is superb as could be expected from the world's best opera singers chosen from many countries for their roles. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Intellectual Couch Potato
This version deserves more than 5 stars... I would say, at least 7 would be in order!
In my humble view this IS the "Don Giovanni" performance of all times. Read more
In addition to fabulous arias, this was filmed in the lovely city of Vicenza, Italy and made great use of its scenic historic sites.Published 11 months ago by David Priver
I'm delighted that so many reviewers enjoyed this film so much that they gave it five stars. Alas, I can't join them. First of all: the singing is absolutely splendid. Read morePublished 11 months ago by W. Moorhead
This was a great disappointment. On VHS in the eighties, Losey's production was the first Giovanni I ever saw as a boy. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Dylan Bryan Dolman
Music great - lovely film but the there was a glitch in the operation of the disc at the beginning of the last act...Published 13 months ago by Catherine trebeck