Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Don Giovanni |
Walter Felsenstein Edition
Actors: Gyorgy Melis, Anny Schlemm, Klara Barlow, Eva-Maria Baum, Rudolf Asmus
Director: Walter Felsenstein
Genres: Musicals & Performing Arts
What a strange and interesting great man
Michael Berger | Atlanta, Ga | 04/28/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is released as part of Art Haus' Walter Felsenstein edition. Felsenstein, a contemporary of Bertold Brecht, ran the East German Komische Oper from just after World War II to his death. Felstenstein was famous for his ensemble productions and for the enormous amount of rehearsal time that went into his productions.
This is a great performance and production and great in an interesting way. First, let us get the difficulties out of the way. It is in German and in black and white and since darkness (and, I would guess the contrast or nuances between darkness and light) are important to Felsenstein's conception of the opera, some of the opera is more dimly lit and therefore less clear than one would like.
What is most interesting about the production is that while it is brillant about the nuances of interaction between the characters, it is almost wholly completely realistic, i.e. there is no sense of ambiguity as part of life, no sense of symbolism, and no sense of a world outside the reach of realism.This Giovanni takes place in a wholly materialistic world (which was probably politically appropriate for Felsenstein in East Germany). No God or gods, no heaven or hell -- just these particular people. From this production, one could never understand how Don Giovanni could be described by Kirkegaard and George Bernard Shaw as a force of life.
The major exception to my statement is the presence of the statue as a statue (not as an old man as in some recent production) in the next to final scene. And, to be honest, Felsenstein handles the shock of the statue's entrance brilliantly, letting us literally see it only through the reactions of Giovanni and Leoporello. We ourselves dont get to literally see the statue until the middle of its scene with Giovanni when it asks Giovanni to shake on their agreement.
The conducting, by the young Zdenek Kosler, is excellent, more powerful than many of his competitors. All of the acting is better than good with special kudos going to Klara Barlow as Dona Anna - she is the most powerful Anna I have ever seen though there is one veddy silent movie melodramatic moment that some will, unfortunately, find funny - and Rudolf Asmus as Leoporello. With the exception of the Don Ottavio, all of the singing is at least very good, with Barlow and Gyorgy Melis as Giovanni especially fine Melis' interpretation of Giovanni is most interesting in his portrayal of the Don as less than a cosmic force that is almost always in control; what is special here is the amount of time he spends reacting to others. Thus, when he does assert his devil-may-care, oh lets go for the highest possible intensity regardless of consequence, as in the finale of Act I, and the supper scene, his power is more surprising for the contrast.
We are fortunate enough to have performances of Don Giovanni on DVD directed by three great directors: Peter Brook, Peter Sellars, and Peter Hall. This one is in their league."