Don Giovanni!

Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527

Recorded at the Haus für Mozart during the 2008 Salzburg Festival

Singers on this DVD are: Christopher Maltman, Anatoly Kocherga, Annette Dasch, Matthew Polenzani, Dorothea Röschmann, Erwin Schrott, Ekaterina Siurina & Alex Esposito
The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Bertrand de Billy, conductor
Claus Guth – staging

Don Giovanni is one of my favorite Mozart operas. As such, when I came upon this DVD that apparently was done in modern dress, I jumped at the opportunity to hear it.

Bottom line: I was greatly disappointed!

Here’s why:
The orchestra is terrific; the singing was largely good to excellent. My enjoyment declined massively because of several factors:

1. The staging was entirely done in the woods. Even when Don Giovanni sings that he’ll offer hot chocolate and goodies to the marriage celebrators at his CASTLE, the opera continues in the woods!

2. Modern – day dress is not boring. Yet the Don and Leporello were dressed in black and gray. Other than Zerlina’s wedding dress, most other clothes looked poorly.

3. If singer Erwin Schrott truly has an uncontrollable neck spasm, I feel badly for him. If, on the other hand, the neck spasm was added as a theatrical ploy, I can’t really appreciate it.

For me, the Mozart drama suffered with this group’s interpretation. While the music and the singing were still there, the entire production was really poor. In this opera there are amazing and dramatic scene changes: the cemetery where Donna Anna’s father is buried; the castle where celebrations take place, the serenade by the Don under the home of another one of his desired female conquests. With Claus Guth’s staging all the magic of these scene changes were lost in favor of his on-going images of trees, trees, trees!
The Salzburg Music Festival has a long tradition of excellence. This production was not one that lives up to that tradition.

Here is a video for you: you can see all the trees, and some of the dress aspects I referred to above:



If you want to purchase the DVD at Amazon, click below:


Tags: Mozart, Don Giovanni, Bertrand de Billy, Wiener Philharmoniker

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