Tuesday 28 August 2012

Don Giovanni at the Met

Don Giovanni. Metropolitan Opera 2011. HD. Production: Michael Grandage. Conductor: Fabio Luisi. Cast: Mariusz Kwiecien (Don G), Luca Pisaroni (Leporello), Marina Rebeka (Donna Anna), Barbara Frittoli (Donna Elvira), Ramon Vargas (Ottavio), Mojca Erdmann (Zerlina), Joshua Bloom (Masetto).
  • When this production opened in 2011, critics generally rated it between "dull" and "disastrously dull". They are right.
  • Michael Grandage is a renowned British theater director and it was a reasonable assumption from Peter Gelb that he could provide interesting insights.
  • At opening night Mariusz Kwiecien was replaced by Peter Mattei, a fact many critics felt may have had significantly negative impact on Grandage´s vision.
  • For the HD transmission Mariusz Kwiecien was back and it was still dull.
  • Action takes place mainly in front of a set consisting of a three-tiered balcony mansion.
  • The relationship between the Don and Leporello is played out interestingly, though, with the latter a lesser sophisticated mirror of the former - but no really new insights here and seen many times before.
  • Musically it was superb, however.
  • Mariusz Kwiecien is a classy and elegant Don with a smooth, silky baritone. Top in the world for this part, together with Peter Mattei and Gerald Finley, in my opinion.
  • Luca Pisaroni presents with a roguesque, vocally solid Leporello
  • Excellent house debut for Marina Rebeka - a shining clear, almost steely soprano. A first-rate Donna Anna, only a bit more dynamics in her singing and acting and she would be among the greatest.
  • Barbara Frittoli is elegant as Elvira, unfortunately her vibrato has become rather wide
  • Mojca Erdmann disappointed as Zerlina with irritating acting and a shaky voice. I am not at all sure she is the rising star some have made her to be.
  • Joshua Bloom makes the most out of his opportunities as Massetto.
  • As does Ramon Vargas as Don Ottavio - not an easy part to make interesting.
  • Fabio Luisi was superb in a slow, grandiose reading of the score.
Marina Rebeka - non mi dir:

The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):

Mariusz Kwiecien: 5
Luca Pisaroni: 4
Marina Rebeka: 4-5
Barbara Frittoli: 4
Mojca Erdmann: 2
Joshua Bloom: 4

Michael Grandage´s production: 2
Fabio Luisi: 4-5

Overall impression: 3


JMO said...

If you're looking to go to your first opera which one would you suggest?

Andrea said...

I always suggest Carmen. Its plot is timeless and dramatic, so it is neither confusing, dated, silly, or boring. Because its melodies are so well-known it makes this opera and the art form itself accessible to a newcomer. And its rhythms and songs are so compelling and beautiful that is will pull you in. For those reasons and more, I think it makes a perfect first opera. Enjoy!

JMO said...

Thank You!

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