Don Giovanni is the man every woman wants, and every man wants to be. But when he commits murder in his pursuit of women and pleasure, and later insults the statue of the man he killed, there is Hell to pay.

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Bryn Terfel ...
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Paul Groves ...
Solveig Kringelborn ...
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Don Giovanni is the man every woman wants, and every man wants to be. But when he commits murder in his pursuit of women and pleasure, and later insults the statue of the man he killed, there is Hell to pay.

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Version of Don Giovanni (1991) See more »

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A wonderful Don Giovanni
19 June 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I love opera, and Don Giovanni is one of my favourites. It has a complex and compelling story, memorable characters with a title character that is both charming and devilish while having a human touch(I can't help thinking of Scarpia as I write this) and Mozart's amazing music. And of all the scenes of the opera, my favourite will always be the Commendatore scene, it never fails to give me the chills and it is probably my favourite individual scene of any of Mozart's operas.

This 2000 production is wonderful, and one of the best Don Giovannis I've seen alongside the 1979 Joseph Losey film(still one of my favourite opera films) and the 1987 production with Samuel Ramey. The orchestra vividly bring the superb music to life and the conducting is done with panache. The costumes and sets are very beautiful and somewhat traditional to look at and the photography is excellent.

As visually beautiful this and the 1979 film are, I think the 1987 production does the most effective job of all the Don Giovannis I've seen of conveying the mood of the opera, mainly because the production was so characteristically dark, which I loved. That said, this is not devoid of darkness or complexity either, there is some inspired staging and the Commendatore scene is superbly done.

The performances are great. Bryn Terfel, one of my favourites nowadays, is terrific as Don Giovanni, I love his rich and beautifully produced voice and he is a very good actor as well. I think he nails making Don Giovanni charming and human, and while he is appropriately sinister sometimes, for my money he just lacks the devilish characteristic that Ramey and especially Ruggero Raimondi embodied. There is a sterling supporting cast with the best being a wonderful Donna Anna in the name of Renee Fleming, singing with her usual creaminess and touching sincerity while giving Anna some of the vengeful fire she needs, and a vocally stylish Ferruccio Furlanetto who manages to stick also to the concept of Leporello, being loyal to his master and very funny without being too much of a buffoon.

The Commendatore of Sergei Koptchak is genuinely imposing-apart from a slightly underpowered vocal- and gave me goosebumps just by looking at him, his entrance is just terrifying. Solvieg Kringelborn's Elvira is suitably fiery, slightly dangerous and very conflicted and Hei Kyung Hong's Zerlina is warm and adorable without ever being naive. Ottavio is a rather thankless role but Paul Groves as well as having a beautiful voice doesn't let that show, while John Relyea makes for a refreshingly human Masetto.

In conclusion, wonderful opera, equally wonderful production. 10/10 Bethany Cox


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