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Mozart - Don Giovanni
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The tale of womaniser Don Giovanni and his servant Leporello. Giovanni's attempts to woo Donna Anna end in tragedy when he kills her father in a duel. Anna and her fianc(r) Don Ottavio swear vengeance. Giovanni then attempts to seduce Zerlina at her wedding reception, but is foiled when his former mistress Donna Elvira warns the bride of Giovanni's reputation. Giovanni now has everyone out for his blood, but tries to trick his pursuers by switching places with Leporello.
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Top Customer Reviews
IlDebrando D'arcangelo . It is as if it was produced yesterday. A 2 DVD set I watched over 2 nights, Don Giovanni is for me one of the best Operas.
Thanks to Mozart and all the cast of superb artists, and Amazon for making my wish com true
I've seen Christine Schafer do impressive work on DVD (e.g., as Gilda in a recent Covent Garden "Rigoletto"). Here, she starts out strong as Donna Anna. A few minutes into Act I, she and Don Ottavio (Piotr Beczala) give a chilling rendition of the duet that follows her father's murder ("Fuggi, crudele, fuggi"). They do a tremendous job of highlighting the jarring, dissonant sound that Mozart gave this piece. My expectations were high. But then in Donna Anna's Act I aria (after she recognizes Giovanni as her father's murderer), Schafer struggles, hitting several sour notes. In Act II, she sounds labored in the difficult but exquisite "Non mi dir." Beczala fares better as Don Ottavio. He gives a moving rendition of "Dalla sua pace," straight from the heart; and his "Il mio tesoro" is the highlight of Act II, as he navigates its many runs and sustained notes with great skill.
Melanie Diener as Donna Elvira is disappointing. In her first aria, she adds a lot of coloratura to Mozart's score, but then fails to hit several notes that he wrote out. This tendency continues throughout her performance. To me, Donna Elvira is the heart of the opera. Many play her as a madwoman, making her almost a buffa character which provides some comic relief in the opera. But that interpretation falls short to me because it's Elvira who steps in and, with the wild and short aria, "Ah, fuggi il traditor," stops Giovanni from seducing Zerlina. Then again, it is Elvira who, in the great quartet with Don Giovanni, Donna Anna, and Don Ottavio, so rattles Giovanni that he gets too close to Donna Anna, allowing her to see that it's he who seduced her in the dark. And it's Donna Elvira who, right until the end, is ready to forgive this doomed man. In addition to her vocal difficulties, Diener just doesn't develop a character (however one thinks Elvira should be interpreted).
As Zerlina, Isabel Bayrakdarian struggles vocally too. I find her voice to be harsh and sometimes shrill, not at all suited for the charming and flirtatious arias Mozart wrote for her character. By contrast, Luca Pisaroni as Masetto does a fine job; I love his deep baritone voice.
Robert Lloyd is in fine bass voice as the Commendatore, but his final confrontation with Giovanni is strange indeed. It lacks the tension and horror that this scene should have. And I object to the rewriting of the Mozart/Da Ponte version of how Giovanni meets his death. (I won't give it away.)
The modern setting of this production doesn't make much sense to me. I know the director is trying to make a point with all the women in bras and panties, but I don't know what it is (perhaps that we're too influenced by ads for underwear - maybe it's a European thing).
The bottom line for me is that it's a disappointing "Don Giovanni" when the best performers are those cast as Leporello, Don Ottavio, and Masetto (but kudos to those three - a star for each). With over 50 years of this great opera available on DVD (e.g., Cesare Siepi's classic portrayal of Giovanni at this same Festival in 1954), I can't recommend this one unless you're a "Don Giovanni" collector.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
bastardize the intentions of the composer and the librettest! No matter!Read more
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