The opera itself is a masterpiece, with some of the best music Mozart ever wrote and the Commendatore scene is one of my favourite scenes of all time of any opera. Add to that a compelling story and characters and you have a brilliant opera. The 1955 Don Giovanni is excellent, even if I do prefer the Joseph Losey film and the 1987 production. The camera work is very, very good and enhances the beautifully constructed costumes and settings very nicely. The orchestra play with style, and while Wilhelm Furtwangler's conducting has a more romantic approach to what I am used to hearing when I watch or hear Don Giovanni it is still very skillful and has an outstanding sense of dramatic style and musicianship. The performances range from very good to outstanding, Erna Berger and Lisa Della Casa are for me the least convincing in their roles, Casa could have done with more spite and Berger while singing very well and the camera work does admirably in trying not to let her age show I do think is too old for Zerlina. Elisabeth Grummer is a beautifully sung and convincing Donna Anna though, Dezso Erster is a very intimidating Commendatore, Anton Demotta is a very good Ottavio and Walter Berry is a truly excellent Massetto. Otto Edelmann is rather flat to start with, but he does get much better and his acting as Leporello is good. Best of all is Cesare Siepi in the title role, his voice is magnificent, handsome with a dark and noble quality, and his acting from charming to devilish is outstanding. All in all, excellent, worth seeing for the music, the Commendatore scene and Siepi. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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