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Mozart: Don Giovanni [DVD Video]

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Mozart: Don Giovanni [DVD Video] + Mozart: The Magic Flute (Metropolitan Opera)
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Editorial Reviews

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Rene Jacobs, Johannes Weisser, Malin Bystrom, Alexandrina Pendatchanska, Sunhae Im
  • Directors: Vincent Boussard
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, Import, NTSC
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1), Italian (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Harmonia Mundi (France)
  • DVD Release Date: May 13, 2008
  • Run Time: 172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0015YDC00
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #152,314 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Michael Birman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 16, 2008
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Following his commission for a new opera to be performed in Prague after his great success there with Figaro, Mozart canceled all personal appearances in Vienna for the year 1787 and hunkered down to compose his new work without distraction. However, being Mozart, the flood of ideas omnipresent in the labyrinth that was his mind forced him to create the masterful string quintets in C Major and G minor K.515 and 516, Eine Kleine Nachtmusik K.525, and the brilliant Violin Sonata in A Major K.526, as well as several other pieces, while he was writing Don Giovanni. There is no doubt he considered this new opera a composition of great importance, pressing Da Ponte for his best work. Desiring a new operatic form, Mozart himself labeled Don Giovanni a 'dramma giocoso': something beyond mere opera buffa, nevertheless something witty and entertaining. Rene Jacobs has recorded all of the Da Ponte operas, with Cosi Fan Tutte and Le Nozze di Figaro resulting in especially brilliant performances. His version of the Don, however, has sparked some mild controversy over his choice of tempos and an occasional variability in the speed of certain arias. Jacobs' justification for these tempo changes is his desire to remove the 19th Century accretions since the era of E. T. A. Hoffman that have caused much of the opera to be performed too slowly. He returns to Mozart's original tempo markings, as well as utilising letters written by Mozart and Da Ponte in which the opera is discussed. He has brought a similar vision to this DVD performance, filmed at the Innsbrucker Festwochen on 6 October 2006 at the Festspielhaus in Baden-Baden.

The cast is mostly young, with Malin Bystrom an unusually beautiful Donna Anna with a lovely voice.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Dexter Tay on May 13, 2008
Much contention has been sparked over Rene Jacobs' Don in the review section for the audio CD. As the unwaveringly favourite opera of mine for some dozen years since I first heard it, I quite unhesitantly purchased this DVD off the rack, somewhat confident that I would not be disappointed (and somewhat given the the impression that Jacobs had done wonders with the other Mozart Operas and would similarly do so for this greatest opera that Mozart had written).

The first thing that threw me off-balance was not unlike what other reviewers had mentioned; the erratic tempi adopted by Jacobs. In some places he does it effectively for dramatization, in many others, it is just plain annoying. What is unequivocal is that he has taken more than the warranted amount of liberty with Mozart's tempi indications and has introduced some rather amusing accelerations, halts and retardations that I regret to say, would NOT placate or convince most seasoned Mozart listeners with repeated listenings.

The greatest flaw was unfortunately in the most intensely dramatic scene -the appearance of the Commendatore at the invitation to supper. The tempo was bizarrely brisk, and what amused me even more was how nonchalent and comical the Commendatore appeared to be as he descended gradually from the flight of stairs from the audience. Even more puzzling was the choice of placing him away from the stage as he confronted the Don from afar and below - I find the rationale for the choreography absurd, with the Don occupying a high position of power vis-a-vis the Commendatore when it should very well be the contrary.

To compensate for these distractions, the cast was fortunately strong in terms of singing, acting and appearance.
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27 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Kip Montgomery on May 16, 2008
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This is, quite simply, an astonishing and breathtaking performance, and deserves nothing less than 5 stars from anyone with even a remotely sensitive ear for this opera. I have just finished my first viewing, and I am nearly speechless. I cannot wait to watch it again tomorrow.

These are just a few of the reasons you need this performance:

1) Each and every singer in the lead roles is great, with the standouts in my opinion being Johannes Weisser (Don Giovanni) and Alexandrina Pendatchanska (Donna Elvira), though I hesitate to single them out because the whole cast is just incredible.

2) The recitatives are nothing like you've ever experienced, in terms of drama and energy. The secco recitatives are accompanied by, thankfully, a fortepiano (not a harpsichord), played with astonishing grace, elegance, drive and wit. I was blown away. The camera is almost exclusively trained on the stage, but it takes a few occasions to show this remarkable fortepianist during the opera. He deserves every shot he gets. The recitatives accompagnato are likewise mind-blowing, thanks to the genius of Rene Jacobs and the execution of his orchestra.

3) The acting is great. I have never seen such a natural, fluid acting among opera singers who are also singing incredibly beautifully AND keeping up with Jacobs' sparkling tempi (more on that in a moment).

4) The orchestral playing, as anyone previously familiar with the Freiburger Barockorchester would expect, is note-perfect, exquisitely in tune, and virtuosic beyond any measure. Insert your choice of fifteen more adjectives of highest praise here.

5) The conducting of Rene Jacobs, again as anyone familiar with his previous work would expect, is masterful.
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Mozart: Don Giovanni [DVD Video]
This item: Mozart: Don Giovanni [DVD Video]
Price: $41.98
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