Don Giovanni, a libertine, a rake with a devil-may-care attitude, is portrayed magnificently by Teddy Tahu Rhodes in this Opera Australia production, where he first appears on stage in a costume where less is definitely more! Charismatic and sexy, Rhodes acting and singing are magnificent. His misused servant, Leporello, is played by Conal Coad, who skilfully promotes the opera's comic elements whilst delivering a thumping bass full of drama.
The classic stage designs of Carl Friedrich Oberle form the backdrop to the drama of Don Giovanni's last day on earth, before he is hurled in to Hell's flames by the Commendatore, Daniel Sumegi, whose basso profundo is befittingly momentous.
In the dense forest planted on the stage of the Haus für Mozart by director Claus Guth is the home of the rugged macho Don Giovanni. Assisted by his unsavory accomplice Leporello, he lures the ladies with the heady scent of danger. Christopher Maltman embodies Don Giovanni as an almost reluctant seducer - a man fated to bring misery to women and, ultimately, to himself. He heads an outstanding cast for a production that, by its very originality, demonstrates the strength of Mozart's original conception.
An all-star cast featuring Deutsche Grammophon artist Anna Netrebko, Bryn Terfel and Anna Prohaska, delivers a sensational new recording of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, conducted by Daniel Barenboim at the start of his inaugural season as Music Director of La Scala. Recorded live at the opening of the 2011-12 La Scala season, Don Giovanni is now set to be released in time for Bryn Terfel’s 50th birthday on 9 November 2015. It also ties in with the traditional opening of the new season at La Scala – 7 December, the feast-day of St Ambrose, patron saint of Milan.
For some reason, Daniel Barenboim's recordings of the Mozart-Da Ponte masterpieces have been overlooked. All three have splendid casts - and among them, this may be the least spectacular, but it is nonetheless a wonderful performance. Joan Rodgers has a gorgeous voice, and sings Zerlina with radiant and womanly warmth - no voce infantile here, thank the gods. It's a pity she hasn't recorded more. She is, fortunately, in Barenboim's two other Mozart-Da Ponte operas, singing her heart out as Susanna and Despina. Furlanetto has an interesting take on the role of the Don. He usually sings Leprello, but here he sings the part of Don Giovanni with a rather unique interpretation.
A live recording of Don Giovanni from the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, recorded on May 23rd 2013, featuring the 'Balthasar-Neumann Choir & Ensdemble', conducted & directed by Thomas Hengelbrock. Erwin Schrott performing in his most celebrated role, Don Giovanni. Featuring a stellar cast of singers – Erwin Schrott, Anna Netrebko, Luca Pisaroni, Malena Ernman. “Schrott creates Don Giovanni in all his malevolent glory — virile, confident, arrogant. He is bursting with animal sexuality, yet manages to hint at the manic obsession that drives the character. Stunning” (Opera Today).
Don Giovanni is one of the timeless classics of all opera. Mozart's music, and the words of his great collaborator Da Ponte, are brought to life in Francesca Zambello's engrossing production from 2002 with its rich and colourful designs by Maria Bjornson. The music is memorable, dramatic and enjoyable: from the seductive solo voices of the famous 'La ci darem la mano' to the fabulous ensemble as Don Giovanni's infatuated conquests, vengeful victims and their outraged relatives join forces for justice. And retribution does finally come to Don Giovanni, a serial womanizer and a murderer, with the searing flames of Hell ready to engulf him. Simon Keenlyside heads the outstanding cast, conducted by renowned Mozart expert Charles Mackerras.
Mozart’s sublime tragic comedy offers boundless scope for directors, and Kasper Holten has chosen it to follow his directorial debut of Eugene Onegin. He wanted to shift the emphasis from Don Giovanni’s sex life into a darker place, showing Giovanni’s womanizing as an attempt to stave off his own mortality. Each woman he seduces represents a life he could have had. Though it is a dark piece, Holten handles it with a light touch and works with a superb cast – Mariusz Kwiecien, one of the world’s leading Don Giovannis, Alex Esposito, a fresh, vigorous Leporello and acclaimed French soprano Véronique Gens.
It is an elegantly comic performance with a light orchestral sound, brisk tempi and lighter voices than usual. This is not to say that the reading is lacking in gravitas and there are many felicitous moments. It is a good cast, headed by Håkan Hagegård in the title role. His Giovanni is a little lacking in menace, but is full of volatile energy and sung in a suave baritone voice. The standout performance is the Leporello of the French-Swiss bass-baritone Gilles Cachemaille; the quick and pointed recitatives between him and Hagegård really fizz and his Catalogue aria is a masterpiece of breath control. The two leading ladies are interestingly cast; Arleen Auger’ lighter-voiced than most Donna Annas, produces a rich, creamy sound, while the mezzo Della Jones is a fiery Donna Elvira, with the pungency of her high notes especially impressive. The peasant couple, Zerlina and Masetto, is sung by Barbara Bonney and Bryn Terfel and they are among the very best on record.
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.