When we think of Don Juan on film, Errol Flynn is the actor that comes to mind. Few people know that there is a better film Don than he.
Although usually - though not exclusively - a baritone part, the film makers chose the Italian bass Cesare Siepi for the part of the Don. The opera singer Sir Geraint Evans once said in a TV interview that "the Don must have dignity." He then singled out Siepi.
And we can see what Sir Geraint means. Siepi is the one man who looks better than Errol Flynn in doublet and hose. He moves gracefully, looks distinguished, has an excellent physique, is good-looking, acts wonderfully well and is blessed with that magnificent self-trained voice. If Errol Flynn WAS Robin Hood, then Cesare Siepi WAS Don Juan, even though, of course, in his personal life, Siepi was modest, highly principled and, according to Sir Geraint Evans, maybe a little shy.
As a film it is a bold attempt to link film and opera, the highest form of art known to man. This works, and through cinema we can rerun the performances again and again. The fact that the music is by Mozart makes this film all the better. The director makes the action look as though we are in our own private box at the opera house, rather than make it look like a Hollywood musical, and that adds to the film's magic.
One side effect of this film is that you then start to trawl the record shops looking for records by Siepi and other members of the cast.
The mere fact that there is a film version of Mozart's Don Giovanni will be of interest to music lovers everywhere. The fact that it is a well-made, well-performed film makes it so much better.
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