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Herbert Von Karajan - His Legacy for Home Video - Mozart - Don Giovanni

40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Herbert Von Karajan, Music Director of the BerlinPhiharmonic from 1956 until his death in 1989, is one of the pre-eminent musical figures of the century. He conducted some of the most technically precise, luxurious sounding recordings in all of classical music. The Karajan Legacy film series documents many of these definitive performances, were directed by Karajan, and are among his only digital recordings. The release of these films on DVD brings the superb artistry of this man to fuller expression than ever before. The wonderful opera "Don Giovanni" by Wolgang Amadeus Mozart is performed by Herbert Von Karajan with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring Samuel Ramey and Anna Tomowa-Sintow, recorded live July 1987 at the Salzburger Festspiele.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a two-sided DVD that will need to be flipped over mid-way through its play to continue viewing. If subtitles are activated, you may need to re-activate in the main menu once the disc has been flipped.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Samuel Ramey, Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Gösta Winbergh, Paata Burchuladze, Julia Varady
  • Directors: Claus Viller
  • Writers: Lorenzo da Ponte
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: German (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), German (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English, French, German
  • Dubbed: German
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Sony
  • DVD Release Date: August 29, 2000
  • Run Time: 191 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 0738919039
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,484 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Herbert Von Karajan - His Legacy for Home Video - Mozart - Don Giovanni" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 104 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on January 7, 2003
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Oh my. This is my first DVD and my favorite production of "Don Giovanni." I have a video of the same 1987 Salzburg Festival production, taped from the TV but the technical quality of the DVD is an order of magnitude better. I can see a mute at the Commendatore's funeral who I never noticed before--most of the scenery looks like it was built out of black marble and he just blended right into a wall in the video version. I can also now see some of the singers sneaking peeks at the prompter, especially Ferruccio Furlanetto (Leporello) as he catalogues his master's 2,065 conquests in 'Madamina.'

The role of Donna Anna is sung by the Bulgarian soprano, Anna Tomowa-Sintow. Her association with the Salzburg Festival and Maestro Karajan has been long and fruitful. In the years from 1973 to 1991 she was a permanent guest at the Salzburg Festivals and was one of Karajan's favorite singers. You'll know why when you listen to this DVD. Tomowa's soprano is big but never out-of-control, and it rings like fine crystal in spite of its size and the heavy demands of Mozart's music. She acts the role of the rape (or near-rape) victim whose father was killed by her attacker, with the glassy, thousand-yard stare of a trauma survivor (very glassy--after watching the DVD, I wondered whether she was wearing contact lenses for the first time).
The basso buffo role of Don Giovanni's servant, Leporello fits Italian bass Ferruccio Furlanetto as closely as a pair of his master's discarded unmentionables. He is by turn angrily aware of his inferior position (a sort of embryonic Figaro), slavishly obedient (suspiciously so), lecherous, or primly lecturing his master, for whom he seems to harbor a real fondness.
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Dan Sherman VINE VOICE on October 6, 2000
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a fine film record of Mozart's Don Giovanni from a Salzburg produciton from the 1980s. It is a nicely paced, well-staged production with some excellent singing. Samuel Ramey really acts the part of the Don with great zest and other characters both sing and act their parts very well. The staging is pretty much traditional. I thought one very nice touch was at the end of the opera when the statue appears -- the backdrop consists of gorgeous astronomical images and the Don is engulfed into these images as he dragged to hell.
Von Karajan conducts a superb orchesteral performance that is somewhat on the spacious side, but which in no way drags. He definitely captures the humor of the score, especially the Leporello scenes. The sound quality of the DVD is excellent, comparable to a good set of CDs, with very nice balance between the voices and the orchestra. Eveything on the DVD is very clearly recorded and von Karajan really brings out the details in the score. There is, on the downside, a modest amount of stage noise.
The DVD has very ample tracking and comes with subtitles and good program notes. It is definitely a very good Don Giovanni to have.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By R. Nicholson on June 10, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful DVD, having all the best of ingredients that blend together to make a near perfect Don G.

Herbert V. Karajan has done a magnificent job with the orchestrated music and the performers are top notch (acting as well as singing). I found the setting perfectly suited to the style and mood of this great work: dark, seductive and secretive. The camera angles are well placed and the audio is superb.

Samuel Ramey is a perfect Don G. Unrelenting in his persuit of the fairer sex and unrepentant as well: great voice and obviously enjoys his role as the world's number one philanderer.

Julia Varady is the frequently scorned and forever forgiving damsel. Her non singing part in Leporello's "Madamina" is delightful to watch.

Kathleen Battle plays a coquettish Zerlina and her arias and the duet with Ramey are magnificent to behold.

My favorite performance however, is by Ferruccio Fulanetto as the roguish Leporello; playing the role of a scoundrel who knows he should know better but is having too much fun to stop.

One final point: I liked the menu on this DVD. Giving you the option to play the entire concert or go to a particular scene. Also the choice of language for the subtitles was nice as well: although I speak English only, I find that once you get used a particular opera, it really is nice to follow along the voices in the recorded language, in this case Italian. I must admit that my favorite opera language is Italian.

The true measure of pleasure an opera gives me is how often I listen to my favorite sections and it comes as no surprise that I play several sections very often. It seems every time I observe something new.

If you were considering getting Don Giovanni I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this DVD. You will not be disappointed.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Robert Baksa on September 30, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The singers in this production all look right for their roles. Ramey is dashing and his sidekick is a real charmer...the best, most natural Leporello I've seen. Tomowa-Sintow is a handsome woman with an opulent voice...too opulent for Mozart I feel but she does a good job. Varady is committed and sings well. Don Ottavio sings beautifully and looks like the stiff that he is supposed to be. Battle's Zerlina has been criticized but I see no reason for that. The voice is extremely well produced and she is musical. Her acting is certainly as good as the rest of the cast. Massetto cannot be faulted in this somewhat thankless role. The trouble is that Von Karajan was not in his element in directing the production. It does not satisfy. Perhaps we see too much of the aging maestro during the overture and his body language trumpets his legendary egotism to an offensive degree. It doesn't put one in a mood of eager expectation. But if an opera buff comes upon this DVD for a good price they should buy it. It's not an embarassment and you will see some very skilled proffessionals at work on the stage.
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