Mozart - Don Giovanni
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mozart was super love it and with Simon Keenlyside is a wonderful play. He sings and act really wonderful, Love this one.Published on December 30, 2013 by chacha
Perhaps the most glorious opera music ever written violated by the worst distortions of plot and meaning ever inflicted by a director. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by richard falk
Its pretty hard to take this production seriously as most of the dancers are making rock and roll movements to Mozart's music. Read morePublished on October 24, 2010 by Robert Baksa
Like a previous reviewer, I bought this simply to see Simon Keenlyside as the Don. I have no quibbles with any of the singers (although Donna Anna is a bit plastic), nor with the... Read morePublished on March 25, 2008 by M. J. Gray
For me the sole reason for buying this production of DG was Keenlyside who surely owns the role. Initially I had dithered because I knew of the work of Sven Eric Bechtolf, his... Read morePublished on November 25, 2007 by DDD
Don't be put off by the cover photo, there is not that much blood on display in this production. What dominates is an elegant 1930s look with what appears to be high quality, for... Read morePublished on November 18, 2007 by Jesse Knight
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