9 C
New York
Monday, November 30, 2020
Advertisement

Mozart: Don Giovanni [Royal Opera/Luisotti] Blu-ray Review

mozart-don-giovani-royal-opera-house-bluray-cover

– –

The Performance

[Rating:4/5]

title

There is no shortage of Blu-ray recordings of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, this being the third that has come my way in the past three years and the second one staged at London’s Covent Garden. In the 21st century, there seems to be a compulsion to reinvent this 1787 opera, and Director Kasper Holten with Set Designer Es Devlin have placed the Don somewhere in the 19th century with impressionistic staging, and very creative lighting effects to support the dramatic action.

names

The opera begins with Don Giovanni (Marius Kwiecien) and Donna Anna (Malin Bystrom) just having finished a torrid evening. In this production, the Don is not masked so Anna is well aware of her lover’s identity, making her subsequent cry of rape ring falsely. The Commendatore (Alexander Tsymbalyuk), Donna Anna’s father, is murdered by the Don when he happens on the scene, and Giovanni escapes with his valet Leporello (Alex Esposito). Don Ottavio (Antonio Poli), Anna’s fiancé, arrives to console her.

da

Don Giovanni next encounters former girlfriend Donna Elvira (Veronique Gens) but he successfully eludes her and arrives at a pre-wedding celebration for the peasant girl Zerlina (Elizabeth Watts) and her groom-to-be Masetto (David Kimberg). The Don wastes no time in making his move on the young girl.

zerl

As the act ends, Don Giovanni has invited all of the characters to a lavish masked ball at his house. Not only does the Don fail to shag Zerlina but the unexpected appearance of Don Ottavio and Donna Anna leads to his being accused of murder. Again, Giovanni and Leporello beat a hasty retreat.

knife

In Act II, the Don has designs on Elvira’s maid (Josephine Arden) and convinces Leporello to change clothes with him so the latter can distract Elvira himself. Masetto arrives, bent on killing the Don for ravishing his fiancée Zerlina, but Giovanni turns the tables and beats him to a pulp. Leporello, mistaken for his master by Ottavio, Anna, Masetto and Zerlina, reveals his true identity and avoids a beating.

lep1

Don Giovanni is having a dinner prepared at his house and invites the ghost of the Commendatore to join him. The Commendatore arrives and tells Don Giovanni to repent. The Don refuses but rather than being dragged down to Hell, he finds himself cast into a dark void.

commen

Using 21st century artifice, Holsten and Devlin largely succeed in giving us the essence of Don Giovanni. The cast is simply superb without a weak link among the six principals and with special mention of Kwiecien’s realization of the title character, a role that he now appears to own. Maestro Nicola Luisotti leads the Royal Opera forces with a keen sense of pacing and dramatic emphasis.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

rote

Jonathan Haswell’s camera crew serves the production extremely well with enough interweaving of closeups and full screen shots that keep viewers quite engaged.  Colors and details are beautifully realized. The special lighting effects like the names of all of Giovanni’s women (and some of their bodies) etched on the backdrop are used judiciously but effectively.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]  

elvira

Having been to Covent Garden, I am familiar with nice acoustics of this venue and the surround soundtrack adds a touch of ambience that is lacking in the 2-channel option. Voices and orchestra are well balanced and this production sounds very much like what I would have expected in a good seat in the orchestra stalls.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

ottav

In addition to a program booklet with cast and production credits, a synopsis, and a lengthy background essay “Don Juan and the Modern Mind,” we get the following extras:

  • Commentary with director Kasper Holten and set designer Es Devlin
  • Introduction to Don Giovanni (English LPCM Stereo 48kHz/24-bit) (5:39): cast members and director provide a brief background to the opera.
  • Don Giovanni’s Women (English LPCM Stereo 48kHz/24-bit) (4:29): a snapshot of the three women involved with the Don during this opera.
  • Cast Gallery

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

red

A great opera like Don Giovanni lends itself to a wide range of stagecraft as its themes of unbridled lust and just retribution are truly timeless. Once my eyes adjusted to the novel staging, I found much of this new version to be effective and delightful. The cast is well balanced, no mean feat considering the wide-ranging vocal demands of the principal roles. Were it not for the previous Blu-ray of the Royal Opera’s 2008 production with a truly stellar cast, led by Simon Keenlyside, Joyce DiDonato, Miah Persson, Ramon Vargas, and directed by legendary maestro Charles Mackerras, this new release would be at the top of my recommended list. That aside, those who prefer a more suave and less depraved Giovanni would do well to get this new one.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00M428D06[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”ca” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-20″]B00M428D06[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B00M428D06[/amazon-product]

batti

com die

dong2

ottav2

dong

catalog

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00M428D06[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product region=”ca” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-20″]B00M428D06[/amazon-product]

[amazon-product]B00M428D06[/amazon-product]

Advertisement

Related Articles

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

301FansLike
0FollowersFollow
724FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

TheaterByte’s Holiday Gift Guide for 2020

Let’s focus on the donut here: BEST Home Entertainment Holiday EVER.

The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

A stunning 4K Ultra HD restoration of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy arrives.

My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising (Blu-ray Review)

An excellent entry (or farewell?) for this beloved franchise with lots of action and great animation.

Train to Busan Presents: Peninsula (Blu-ray Review)

This is an uneven but still fun to watch sequel to the 2016 smash hit zombie/action movie lands on Blu-ray with a rollicking Atmos mix.

Chernobyl (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

The account of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in Ukraine, Soviet Union, and the subsequent health and political fallout is told in five gripping episodes.
%d bloggers like this: