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Don Giovanni [Blu-ray]

4.1 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Don Juan sins with his servant and is doomed in this version of Mozart's tragicomic opera. Directed by Joseph Losey.

Product Details

  • Actors: Ruggero Raimondi, John Macurdy, Edda Moser, Kiri Te Kanawa, Kenneth Riegel
  • Directors: Joseph Losey
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Original recording remastered, Subtitled, Widescreen, Anamorphic, Color
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2013
  • Run Time: 176 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00A32GZOK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,676 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
This is a "movie opera", and I am not a fan of them, because I find some of the passion is filtered out when the singing is separated from the acting, and though this film is well done, it has a lot of that "lip-synch" look, which dims the dramatic impact. I would rather watch a filmed live performance, with less gloss, and more feeling.
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.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is possibly the most beautiful opera video ever produced. It was not filmed on stage, but on location in Vicenza, Italy, with absolutely stunning setting. It features excellent performances, including Ruggero Raimondi (the perfect Don) and Kiri Te Kanawa (the perfect Donna Elvira). Of the 5 or 6 greatest operas ever written (all Mozart's, in my opinion), some say Don Giovanni stands out as the most perfect achievement. Whatever your opinion may be, by getting this video you will be getting the very finest rendition of this masterwork I have ever seen. It is sung in the original Italian, with English subtitles. Incidentally, one reviewer complained of the poor quality of the sound. This is unfortunately true (shame on Kultur Videos!) but don't let this stop you from purchasing this excellent video - you won't regret it.
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Format: DVD
Joseph Losey's Don Giovanni is masterful. The opening scenes resonate perfectly with the music. The gathering clouds slowly darkening the sky and the melancholy sea beating against the shoreline foretell of a sea-change. Bad days are ahead for the Don. Ruggero Raimondi is the perfect Don Giovanni - totally believable and true to Mozart's characterization. The location shots add a dimension to Opera that take this production to another level. Losey makes sure the music is always in sync with the action. When Don Ottario is singing in the Gondolla, for instance, the oarsman is keeping perfect time with the music which, esthetically, is a major improvement over what is normally a dry section of the Opera. Another interesting touch that Losey gives to this production is the character, played by Eric Adjani, called the "Silent Valet." A sly mephistophelean presence that provides an excellent counterpoint to the levity of José van Dam's Leporello. Though he never speaks, his demeanor encourages the Don's baser instincts (one might even argue that he is an image of the younger Giovanni). Losey is masterful in creating visual images that give the story more depth. There is a scene in particular, in which Giovanni watches a nude girl bathing. While she is unaware of his presence the scene is a combination of innocence and sensuality. When she does become aware of the intrusion, Giovanni gives her his penetrating stare, which she returns with a look that is knowing and somehow sad. There has indeed been a sea change and the Don is travelling inevitably down a road that will lead to his demise.
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Format: DVD
This cast and production are a once in a century (if that) event; there is no better performance available, period. Raimondi is at the height of his career and the finest Don Juan in anyone's memory, Kanawa is brutally on target as Elvira, Edda Moser has only one better Donna Anna performance (but there is no better person to play her), van Dam is stupendously played (almost too well)... one can go on and on. Losey, and everyone else was involved in this project really know their performance history of Don Giovanni and the Don Juan legacy in general. This literary myth has a life of its own over the past few hundred years and this project created huge ripples throughout the European opera community. Casts like this almost never see the transfer to video. The actual production conditions were authentically grueling and difficult, much like a live stage performance.
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.
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Don Giovanni [Blu-ray]
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