Mozart - Don Giovanni / Drabowicz, Youn, Schorg, Reijans, Kocherga, Bou, Martins, de Billy, Bieito (Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona)
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Calixto Bieito's famously controversial 2002 production of Mozart's great opera sets the action in the late twentieth century and brings to life an ancient story brilliantly retold. Bertrand de Billy conducts an energetic cast led by Wojtek Drabowicz in the title role, with the Liceu's Orchestra Academy.Press Reviews
"The musical performance has its own distinction, as well as complete integration with the staging concept." (Gramophone)
" It's a strong cast, led by Drabowicz's nobly-voiced, savage Don, and Youn's powerful Leporello." (BBC Music Magazine)
"A fully rounded piece of work...Coherent production, perfectly staged, impeccable singers." (El Periodico)
"Musically much better than the London version – Véronique Gens makes a wonderful Donna Elvira, confident, strong, perfect both in her singing and acting." (El Pais)Cast
Wojtek Drabowicz (Don Giovanni)
Kwanchal Youn (Leporello)
Véronique Gens (Donna Elvira)
Marcel Reijans (Don Ottavio)
Anatoly Kocherga (Commendatore)
Chamber Choir of the Palau de la Música Catalana; Orchestra Academy of the Gran Teatre del Liceu; Bertrand de Billy
Company: Gran Teatre del Liceu
Stage Director: Calixto Bieito
Catalogue Number: OA0921D
Date of Performance: 2002
Running Time: 156 minutes
Sound: DTS Surround; LPCM Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 Anamorphic
Subtitles: EN, FR, DE, ES, IT, CA
Label: Opus Arte
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Top customer reviews
The performance, as a whole, is very good. Bertrand de Billy conducts a forceful and dramatic reading of the score and the cast is quite effective. Unfortunately, Bieito's controversial staging is a distraction and, even more, quite ineffective at conveying the joys and delights that make Don Giovanni such an incredible and one of a kind theater experience. I will advise that you would do best to rent or borrow this DVD from the library before purchase if you tend to enjoy modern productions, no matter how out of tune with the original intentions of writer and composer. Others should beware!
I enjoy most "regietheatre" and I would like to see more of Biexto (sp?)but this production is barely intriguing, played out in stygian darkness--perhaps wisely? The new Zurich production which is as outre as this is well lighted, making its silliness all the more evident.
The edition used is the Prague which means that we are spared one of Ottavio's arias and Mi tradi. I could find no mention as to the text nor any reason given. Only two singers bring distinction to their roles, Veronica Gens and Youn, a Korean (I believe) who sings a superb Leporello; that we are denied the Mi tradi is unfortunate since I have no doubt that Gens would sing it superbly. The Ottavio is mediocre,clearly unable to sing the music. Possibly in another context, the Don could be more effective. Regina Schorg is an adequate Anna, but her singing is edgy and frequently shrill.
There are a number of Dons available, the most traditional would be the Karajan, but the performance is stodgy and never takes off. The TDK set under Muti is very well sung. Its conceit is in changing the costums from 18th century to Victorian era. The singing is uniformly excellent, indeed, vocally it is one of the best. The Don from a recent Salzburg production (part of the M22 set on Decca)is also well sung and for those who want a "take" can rest easy with sliding panels and doors for entrances and exits: no, there is no mention of geography in this set, but then neither do most of the other sets.
I think I could deal with the Liceu production if it were better sung and a conflation of the Prague and Vienna editions were used. However, as things stand this is a DG that I will probably never revisit.
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