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Mozart - Don Giovanni

3.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
New from Used from
(Nov 06, 2007)
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$9.72 $8.34

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Editorial Reviews

Simon Keenlyside, Malin Hartelius, Alfred Muff, and Eva Mei star in this Zurich Opera production of the Mozart opera conducted by Franz Welser-Moest.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Simon Keenlyside, Malin Hartelius, Eva Mei, Anton Scharinger, Piotr Beczala
  • Directors: Sven-Eric Bechtolf
  • Format: Multiple Formats, NTSC, DTS Surround Sound, Digital Sound, Widescreen, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: German, English, Italian, Spanish, French
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Warner Classics
  • DVD Release Date: November 6, 2007
  • Run Time: 185 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000UINP22
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,659 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I thought the whole was less than the sum of its parts in this Zurich Opera production. The individual performances are fine indeed, but the production lacks the sustained tension that makes this opera such a masterpiece - sustained tension that grips us from that first dissonant chord of the overture and doesn't let go until Giovanni descends into Hell. The lack of tension is mostly due to the slow pace of the orchestra in many of the opera's most dramatic moments. That slowness also takes the sparkle out of the comedic moments in the opera. (For example, the "Catalogue aria" seems to go on forever.)

Simon Keenlyside does a fine job as Don Giovanni. He has flawless technique as a singer and as an actor. Every note and every action is executed with clear intention. His "Deh, vieni alla finestra" is seductive and mesmerizing. My only criticism is that Keenlyside is too much of an ensemble player (in this regard, I respectfully disagree with the reviewer who praised him for this). His Giovanni is not a larger-than-life presence and is bit too casual in manner (the reviewer who invoked Sinatra's "rat pack' seemed spot-on to me). This Giovanni just doesn't dominate the opera and this is another reason why it lacks the sustained tension it should have.

As Leporello, Anton Scharinger has a wonderfully deep baritone voice. It blends beautifully with Keenlyside's lighter baritone. Scharinger's acting is one of the highlights of the production. It's clear that at times he fancies himself to be the real Don!

I was pleasantly surprised by Eva Mei as Donna Anna. I've never heard her sing with such power and flexibility. Her performance of the extremely difficult "Or sai chi l'onore" is stunning. Malin Hartelius does a fine job as Donna Elvira.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The director and designer should be excoriated (even sucked down into Hell) for this idiotic production of the Mozart/DaPonte masterpiece. I love "Don Giovanni" in a modern setting, but this one makes no sense whatsoever dramatically. The set is apparently a banquet room or the lobby of some modern European hotel, which is fine, and the characters are in modern dress, which is fine.

But the director apparently has nothing but contempt for DaPonte's libretto and Mozart's music. He ignores every single cue from the authors, making hash out of the story and the universal themes. The set has NO corners in which to hide, which ignores key elements of the plot. The ladies, all in formal wear, even stand on the overstuffed furniture in HIGH HEELS, for crying out loud. How they kept their balance is beyond me. The element of disguise, crucial to the opera, is ignored. The production and direction insult the intelligence at every turn.

Characters roll around on the floor constantly,the story is completely ignored, and fashionable models in the background undress and hump each other at whim. Come on, people, take your cues from Mozart and Daponte like Peter Sellars did. Why this complete disregard for what is on the page? There is every opportunity to make this opera thrilling theater. Instead they waste no opportunity to turn it into inane junk. Visually, it is absolute garbage.

Musically, it is another story entirely. The singers are all very good, as is the conducting. Elvira's "Mi Tradi..." is taken at a more leisurely pace than I have ever heard, and it is a revelation.

If you must, buy it used (get free shipping),watch it once, then play it without looking at the insulting visuals. A real shame, considering the talent available.
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Format: DVD
Update of November 2011: Since I wrote the following review Keenlelyside has played the Don in a much superior production at Covent Garden and has met his match in Gerald Finley at Glyndebourne. I recommend the DVD/Blue Ray releases of those productions above the one from Zurich. Keenleyside's voice is aging more quickly than Finley's, which Keenleyside himself foresaw would be the case when he made a CD of operatic arias about a decade ago for which he wrote the booklet notes.


Simon Keenlyside is today's Don of Dons in my book, matched only by Gerald Finley, and he does indeed sing and act the role to perfection in this carefully thought through yet passionate production from Zurich. But Keenlyside does not steal the show - he's too fine an artist to play that game. The other members of the cast sing and act convincingly, working together with Keenlyside, suggesting the mutual respect and timing of a repertory cast the members of which know one another well. The musical direction and orchestral playing realize all of the power and delicacy and the cruelty and comedy of Mozart's score.

The set design is simple in concept yet rich in color, texture, and lighting, making effective use of red, black, gold and white fabrics of various sorts in the costuming, the stage furniture, or the subtly moving curtains that not only provide for a set change but also contribute to the shifting moods of the drama. The use of reflecting mirrors and rear projection adds to the sense that the Don's world is founded upon deception - deception of others and of himself.

The director's approach honors Mozart and Da Ponte and is definitely not yet another example of self-consciously "modern" Euro-trash.
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