|Index||3 reviews in total|
This shortened version of Mozart's opera is filmed with an imaginative
twist. The staging is split with an abstracted Spain watched on a black
white projector screen by the characters who are set in the same landscape
but in thirties Hollywood. This excellent conceit is central to the
director's interpretation and is stylishly handled.
The singing is generally good but the running time of an hour or so reduces some of the characters to mere cameos. The consistent operatic problem of casting people who can both sing, act, and look the part is in evidence but Hvorostovsky relishes his role[s] and his portrayal of the licentious nobleman is refreshingly un-forced.
Although the special effects are largely excellent the fire present in the final immolation is at times unrealistic and the final cries of Don Giovanni are somewhat feeble for man who is being committed to the very bosom of Hell.
An enjoyable and provocative filming but probably only of interest to those with prior knowledge of the opera.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As stated above, this is for the Hvorostovsky fans and those already
familiar with the opera. The idea of making Don G and Leporello
Doppelgängers is great. As the plot goes forth, it becomes more and
more clear they are not even Doppelgängers, they are one as Jekyll and
Hyde. And the Commendatore, with his Nazgul-like ghostly companions,
knows this too well. Oops, Leporello. Being Don G is one thing, paying
the fiery price is another...
Very good singers in general, although I'd have preferred a Commendatore with a bigger voice.
But anyway, Hvorostovsky shines in his angelic beauty. Maybe too angelic for the Don. I prefer Gilfry's demonic predator or Keenlyside's wicked charmer. Dima lacks the depravity that makes the Don worth for hellfire. He's beautiful and hot, but somehow innocent. (By the way, the other two are also perfect when it comes to Innocence Incarnate, the polar opposite of the Don, Billy. Dima never sang him. A pity, he'd be so perfect.)
Definitely worth watching if you can get it.
If you are not familiar with the Opera "Don Giovanni" by Mozart, this is not
for you. But, if you are familiar, and you love the Russian baritone Dmitri
Hvorostovsky then you are in for a goldmine.
Ms. Sweete takes a rather unique view of opera's favorite sexual compulsive and his not very trusty servant, Leporello. The singing is, over all, excellent. (Though one could wish that Hvorostovsky had plumbed the depths of his range further) Especially effective is the "serenade" and Leporello's opening aria. The supporting cast is up to the usual excellent standards of the Canadian opera community.
Ms. Sweete has said in numerous interviews that she had originally cast the Welsh baritone Bryn Trefel as the Don and Hvorostovsky as Leporello. One can spend no small amount of time wondering how marvelous this film could have been with the world's two greatest baritones!
Just a note on the sets and design, it is rather stylistic and veers between 1930's Hollywood and a sharp stylistic depiction of 17th Century Spain. It may not be to everyone's tastes and you do have to pay close attention, but it pays off to the careful viewer. The ending is a surprise, but if you think on it, it's makes sense.
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