Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart Don Giovanni|
Actors: Mozart, Keenlyside, Didonato, Vargas, Mackerras
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
The only saving aspect is Joyce Di Donato's Elvira
Abel | Hong Kong | 07/29/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Let's face it: modern operatic productions are now facing a dire crisis in terms of vocal as well as visual standard.
This ROH production has enough vices in respect of both, but frankly speaking, this is by no means the worst.
Vocally, Simon Keenlyside's reprisal of Don G is a failure for himself.
The Champagne Aria simply fails to take off, and the duet with Zerlina too 'creamy', while the Serenade is sorely 'under'.
One misses sadly the Don of Cesare Siepi in that 1950's mono and black and white DVD under Furtwangler. Not one single modern production on DVD came any close to that one, let alone surpassing it.
The only salvage point in this ROH 2008 production is Joyce Didonato's Donna Elvira, the best since Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.
And whoever casts Ramon Vargas as Don Ottavio commits a grave mistake - Vargas is a first-rate bel canto lyrical tenor; not Mozartian tenor. Whatever happened to the Donna Anna in this production, there is surely an understudy competent enough to take her role, especially that this is to be commercially released on DVD!
And the conductor even fails to keep pace with the singers in more than one entry, undoubtedly the result of under-rehersal.
As for the sets, well, suffice to mention that it could be worse."
A Splendid Gon
David D. Dollinger | Pasadena, CA | 06/17/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is Keenlyside's second performance of DG to be committed to DVD. Overall it is a great performance. But then he (along with Malin Hartelius) justify perchase of the Zurich (earlier) performance: my recollection was that it was relatively inexpensive. The Zurich performance cannot boast of a "starry" cast, choosing many regulars for the remainder of the cast. It is also very regie oriented although not as obnoxiously as some of the director's other works, e.g., Peleas and Rosenkavalier.
It is quite interesting to compare SK's two different takes on the anti-hero. In Zurich there is some wit and irony in all that SK does with the role. He would appear to be amused at much of what is happening. In the ROH taping, this Don is demonic, possessed and dangerous. Needless to say in both his singing is beyond criticism. Even at the ROH when is needed (La cidarem, Vieni alla finestra, etc.)it is there. Because of the staging and direction at Zurich the ROH is more memorable if only because it is more conventional in approach. Overall the casting more than trumps the earlier set. I understand that the Anna, Marina Poplavskaya was ill; even so she is still able to triumph over her rival, Eva Mei (Zurich); clips on YouTube, notably from Salzburg allow you to hear her in top form. Joyce Didonato is the Elvira. I don't know when the idea of casting a mezzo for this role started, (Zerlina has also been given this role) but Didonato is very, very good. Even so I miss a soprano in the role. Miah Persson, the Zerlina (deluxe casting) really should have sung the Elvira. Kyle Ketelson is a wonderful Leporello, a superb singing actor. Ramon Vargas turned in a lovely performance of Ottavio. I have never heard him in Mozart and he is clearly up to the challenges of Il mio tesoro. Overall the set has no weak points vocally.
The production is all over the place but is far preferable to Zurich; Zambello must rate very high with the powers that be at ROH. Her recent Carmen was excellent; here she is less concerned with opting for an 18th century period, but mixes conventional period dress with contemporary garb. In this case powered wigs were out and a variation on the mullet was the hair design of choice. While the settings were not particularly evocative of Spain (or any other place) they were preferable to those in the Jacobs' performance.
A refreshing new approach
Michael Cooke | San Francisco, CA United States | 08/17/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Visually I enjoyed this performance immensely, if it is a little on the dark side. I was captivated particularly by the acting ability, the facial expressions, and of course the magnificent singing of the leads which told the story so dramatically. The set(s)were superb and the finale awesome. But I was shocked from the beginning by the thin, boxy sound of the orchestra; devoid of ambience with no full base, it sounded like a 1950's LP. I kept thinking of Gulini's magnificent 1961 CD. This spoilt the overall enjoyment for me. I only hope we are not going to sacrifice audio quality in classical DVDs - we're not talking about movies here!
Michael Cooke, San Francisco"
ravennamoon | Naples, Italy | 04/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
""DON GIOVANNI" is one of my two all-time favorite opera's, (the other is "La Traviata"). This dvd is one of 7 Don Giovanni's in my dvd collection, and as I
watched it last night, I knew within minutes it would become one of my favorites.
Simon Keenlyside is a brilliant stage actor, as well as a magnificent voice in opera. He plays this Don Giovanni with a marvelous flair, and is a believable
seducer. His voice is a joy to listen to. Miah Persson is probably the best Zerlina I have seen. Joyce Didonato was a passionate Donna Elvira.
The Spanish Madonna on the stage for much of the opera was a nice touch. I also appreciate how the director brought forward the bonding of the women characters in
this production~ when Don Giovanni is exposed at the end of ACT I, the women
hold one knife together in their hands and point it at him. Keenlyside's intensity
is riveting as his character escapes at the end of the scene.
I thought the singer portraying Leporello was fabulous also~ great energy, great voice, and definitely looks like the Leporello one imagines.
Ramon Vargas~ what a voice! He is a gift to the opera world. I loved this production, and as I said, of my 7 versions of this opera, this will be the one I return to most often. My other fav is one with Carlos Alvarez and Ildebrando D'Arcangelo. Simon Keenlyside brings Don Giovanni to life! Beautifully!"