Peter Sellars Excels
R. Hussain | United Kingdom | 06/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this many moons ago on TV around Christmas when the other two Da Ponte operas were transmitted along with this DON GIOVANNI.
This version was long overdue for a DVD issue. I've owned the previous VHS and Laser-Disc editions and I've snapped up this DVD edition as part of a slip-cased Da Ponte Box Set released in the UK.
The quality of singing and acting talent alone would merit an immediate purchase but the production by Peter Sellars makes it an essential recommendation to any opera lover. It grabs you by your throat and never lets up until the tragic finale. And the finale will take your breath away.
The complexity and duality of Don Giovanni / Leporello is really brought to the fore in this daring version. The lines are blurred and the psychology and implications are disturbing.
On this new DVD there's a choice of DTS sound, optional English subtitles (supplied by Sellars himself so as to bring out the nuance of this visceral vision), trailers for the other operas in the series and the image quality really captures the murky world of pollution and vice that runs rampant in the sewer-like set.
This is a DON GIOVANNI for our times and the quicker you grab it the better. The previous editions went out-of-print and commanded sky-high prices amongst opera connoisseurs.
Now all we need is the Peter Sellars documentary that aired at the time when these operas were screened on TV. It was called DESTINATION MOZART and packed a real punch. It should have been added as an extra feature on the second disc of DON GIOVANNI.
Theodore Shulman | NYC | 11/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I guess it's not surprising that DonG goes very well as a '70s blaxploitation flick. It really is a cheesy exploitation story-- lots of gratuitous sex and violence and overdramatic characters, and the main theme is how ornery and dangerous the title character is. I think DaPonte and Mozart would have loved this. Although they might have called for Leporello to be more clowny--Herbert Perry plays him more or less straight.
But there's more: even if you take away the urban-ethnic stuff, this performance shows the interactions among the characters, and their intense emotions, more clearly than any I've seen on video. For this reason I'd recommend it as a first exposure to the piece in spite of the unconventional aspects. Plus, world-class singing by everyone.
I have only one suggestion for improvement: The chorus of demons should be limping, decaying zombies, and they should come on stage as the Commendatore disappears, converge on DonG, clawing and biting, and finally tear him to pieces and disperse after his final yell, gnawing on organs and severed limbs. Hire Tom Savini for makeup and props. If they could conceal him by crowding around him with their backs to the camera it wouldn't be that hard to stage it convincingly."
Amazingly entertaining Mozart of our age
Hokky Situngkir | indonesia | 01/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Sellars' interpretation on Mozart's classical Don Giovanni is so amazingly entertaining. What you are looking to was married with what you are listening to. What we are seeing is something that is so close with our daily realm, a naive playboy, Don Giovanni, while what we are hearing is something that has been chanted hundreds of years ago as the sound of the great avant-garde of human cultural realms. This phenomenological marriage is a recommendation for those who loves to ponder Mozart's creative works without even sinking into the history of the maestro.
The performance of the twins Perry as well as the twin-acting performance of Dominique Labelle, were beyond perfect, somehow, the way they express the beauty of Mozart chosen melodic lyrics the lines of face, gestures, are the key of the success of the inter-century cultural marriage. We can enjoy the opera without even have to guessing what and how any historical sensitive facts behind the opera - as well as be absorbed into an opera performance without even attending the opera at all.
I believe that this sort of operatic work, be it a kind of contemporary interpretation of classical works or endeavor of bridging a state of the work of art frequently stages in live performance into our own private realms of home entertainment.
This work of art is not a movie although the media is sort of it, yet, it is also not an opera although the coercive ideas are the interpretation to a maestro. This work of art, thus, not only the mixture of two long-time-separated media-of-art, it presents the symbolic mixture of two great human civilisation...
Salute to Sellars!