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Mozart: Don Giovanni [D'Arcangelo, Concetti, Riccardo Frizza] [Blu-ray] 
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'Ildebrando D'Arcangelo is 'incandescent' (Gazzetta di Parma) and 'doesn't do Don Giovanni he is the Don'.
'Unsurpassable' 24 Ore.
Picture Format: NTSC 16:9 HD
Sound Format: PCM Stereo dts-HD Master Audio 5.1
Region Code: 0
Duration: 174 minutes
Recorded: live from the Teatro La Fenice 2011
Subtitles: Italian - original language English German French Spanish Korean Japanese Chinese
This is well worth investigating. --Gramophone,Dec'14
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Top Customer Reviews
Unfortunately a similar mess was made of the Kasarova/Kaufmann "Carmen". Have these DVD producers no standards, no shame?
The sonorous bass-baritone of Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, a resonant, dark and powerful voice, is certainly an impressive instrument, but his singing often lacks elegance of style, and smooth legato is hardly a priority, everything is sung forte, yet his magnetic stage presence, strikingly effective, compensates for his monotony of voice. Andrea Concetti is serviceable in the role of Leporello, but his voice lacks the flexibility necessary for the role. Myrtò Papatanasiu has amazing vocal technique, and she certainly captures Donna Anna's every flicker of emotion. Carmela Remigio is evidently a Mozart specialist. She has a great voice for opera seria and has everything that is required for a substantial role like Donna Elvira. Marlin Miller offers a finely sweet-toned Don Ottavio.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Let me begin by talking about many things that I liked in this presentation. The reason I chose this one was primarily Ildebrando D'Arcangelo. I recently saw him as Escamillo in Carmen and he was superb. I've also enjoyed a number of other Sferisterio presentations, including another Carmen. All things being equal I find that I am preferring video presentations that have been recorded in a small opera house. The engineers get a much more realistic sound picture and the singers are not singing trying to fill a 2000 seat house with a microphone fairly close to them. They tend to over sing in that type of situation and don't produce the best vocal qualities for the video soundtrack. For live presentations I also have grown to prefer a smaller house where everything is much more immediate.
I found both the singers and the orchestra here to be well-balanced and a natural perspective.
A smaller house as this is also encourages simpler cents and staging which I find to be beneficial. The Furtwangler set from Salzburg has an enormous stage and sets, and that's great as a reference, but the sets here are nice and clean, there is only what you need to see, and the use of slightly clouded mirrors show the characters from different angles, while being used sparingly and never causing confusion. There is an onset at the front of the stage which is inspired as a place to have side action, while being visible and clear.
And clarity is the watchword here. Both the action and the interactions here are very easy to follow, without a lot of distractions. I understood new facets to the story from this presentation. Some of those came from the much clearer physical interactions between the characters, especially between Don Giovanni and Leporello, who are shown as much closer than usual. We are left to draw our own conclusions.
D'Arcangelo is superb as The title character, the warmth, power and resonance of his voice underlining his characterization. He projects an "earthier" vibe than Kwiecien, who also has a slightly lighter and perhaps more "cultured" voice. He also cuts a fine figure physically. His voice is steady and totally convincing.
The level of singing by the entire cast is excellent they are all younger voices younger singers but they have their characterizations and vocalizations fully worked out without sounding anything less than professional. The quality of singing in Italian provincial opera houses has steadily increased over the past several decades, as has orchestral playing.
I admire Frizza's light touch in keeping the music moving. He certainly willing to slow down and savor the lovely ensembles in the work but he also realizes that there are a number of places where the action and the words are more important than the music and he's willing to allow the focus to shift over to that with the music kind of coming in behind support. In those places is a more theatrical type of presentation and it works very well. He allows the music to flow from one number into the next and the action to keep moving right along it makes the upper seem actually quite a bit shorter than it actually is, and when he does back off a bit it's for a good reason.
Don Giovanni is costumed in shades of red, the other characters are in monochrome. Aside from the eventual dining table the main set element is a bed, which is used in a number of settings but it's always clear what's going on. After countless fountains, courtyards, mansions, ballrooms and mazes, I find the set here most refreshing.
If you want to see what "old-school Mozart" is all about, you can hardly go wrong with the Furtwangler (from 1954 I believe) with some legendary singers, but I am loving the new singers I am seeing in Italian regional opera houses.
I'm glad I bought this.
The Blu-ray image is less than razor sharp. The orchestra often sounds muffled, and balances between voices and orchestra are not always ideal. As Giovanni is pulled down to hell, the chorus of demons is inaudible. Perhaps fitting the entire opera onto one disc contributed to the technical deficiencies. (The Royal Opera House Don Giovanni on Opus Arte Mozart: Don Giovanni - Royal Opera House [Blu-ray], conducted by the late Charles Mackerras, offers a better home viewing experience using two BD 50s.)
The stage is steeply raked -- the upward incline is noticeable from shots taken at floor level -- and almost devoid of scenery. The major prop is a large bed covered with a white sheet that ends up being occupied by several different characters at one time or another. The cast members are young and handsome and lovely and are generally good actors and actresses and singers who efficiently negotiate their slanted physical environment without evident strain and who don't mind taking a risqué risk or two.
Those performances, however, are somewhat difficult to measure against those in other productions because of Frizza's unrelenting tempos that never -- or hardly ever -- even allow applause to impede the dash forward. In his 1999 Vienna recording, Riccardo Muti maintains taut control, but he knows to loosen the reins a bit when his singers (including a young Ildebrando D'Arcangelo as Leporello) need it Mozart - Don Giovanni / Alvarez, Pieczonka, Antonacci, Kirchschlager, d'Arcangelo, Schade, Regazzo, Selig, Muti, Vienna Opera. Frizza seldom allows his cast room to breathe.
In the title role here, D'Arcangelo is a "force majeure," with his rich bass-baritone and seemingly boundless energy. His serenading might lack the last ounce of charm, and his acting skills can't overcome the problems built into the finale, when he must flop to the floor and roll off the front of the stage to be dragged underneath in a pansexual orgy of naked bodies. But D'Arcangelo's dynamic presence is an undeniable asset.
As Leporello, Andrea Concetti also displays a deep bass-baritone, which offers hardly any contrast with D'Arcangelo's. Perhaps this strong similarity was director Pizzi's intent, as the two characters undress and exchange costumes on stage, sometimes share the same women and sometimes the same bed. Showing how alike the two characters are has some value, but maintaining that view over the whole opera becomes boring, monochromatic.
In a major failure of the production, however, Concetti's Leporello affords no comic relief. Instead of producing a laugh or two, for example, he uses the famous Catalogue Aria to seduce Donna Elvira himself, in that big white bed, as she becomes aroused listening to the record of Giovanni's conquests. Likewise, if you didn't know Leoporello's later wooing of Elvira from beneath her window while he is disguised as the Don is supposed to be funny, you wouldn't. Worse, Leporello's fright as the Don forces him to read the inscription on the Commendatore's statue in the graveyard and his terror as Giovanni welcomes the statue inside at the end exhibit none of the slapstick elements that make the horror of hell more awful.
Among other principals, Marlin Miller for once pumps heroic virility into Don Ottavio, who is more commonly portrayed as a limp, vacuous creature. One of the rare times the audience bursts out in applause to spite Frizza's push forward occurs after Miller's "Il mio tesoro." It's applause well deserved.
Another, louder interruption from the audience follows Carmela Remigio's delivery of Donna Elvira's "Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata," which is indeed one of this show's highlights. Remigio's entire depiction of Donna Elvira, in fact, merits high praise.
Opera mavens of a certain age are not likely to approve the "constructive provocation," as the booklet words it, of this Sferisterio Opera Festival production, recalling instead Furtwängler's classic 1954 video Mozart - Don Giovanni / Furtwangler with the style and stage gestures of a former era. Younger audiences might be more receptive. Paladins of fine singing will compare the performances here with Giulini's famed CD set Mozart: Don Giovanni, created under ideal conditions That would be unfair. For a live performance at Frizza's tempos, the Macerata singing is mostly of a high caliber.
If the humor Mozart and librettist Da Ponte embedded in the opera were in evidence, I could give this Blu-ray an enthusiastic endorsement. Instead, unless you just want to add another Don Giovanni to your collection, I'd recommend the other video recordings mentioned here -- Mackerras, Muti, and, yes, Furtwängler.
All the performers on the stage and in the pit satisfied me but my standards aren’t all that demanding. The Don was a delightful scoundrel. This Leporello didn’t provide the comedic touch of some others who have sung this role but vocally he was fine. I thoroughly enjoyed this as I have every performance of DG that I’ve seen. But more conventional presentations are more effective for me so I can concentrate on the gorgeous music and vocals and not fret or hope that a wardrobe malfunction is imminent.
Mozart gave us better known arias in Figaro and Die Zauberflute. But DG is mesmerizing from the opening notes that drag you onto stage into another world to the curtain call which finds the depraved Don deposited where he belongs and being UnFriended by all. Is it a comedy or a morality play? How can it be a comedy if the hero is a rapist, murderer, and total cad who laughs at the man he murdered and the women he defiled? The libertine is a singing cockroach. How can it be a morality play if vengeance is dispensed by a statue? Just throw up your hands, don’t try to understand it, and just enjoy.
This performance by the 2009 Macerata Festival features appropriate costumes, stark sets, and is appropriate for the era in which DG is set. The only prop was a large bed which everyone except Il Commendatore ends up in. None of the performers are known to me but they gave first rate performances.
The English playwright George Barnard Shaw said DG was one of the Towering Landmarks of Western Civilization. He could have omitted Western. Highly recommend this and all of the other recordings of The Master’s Masterpiece.
There are a number of good things to say about this recording.. The singing of all parts is very good. Ildebrando is an excellent singer and sang the part quite well. I just did not like the way he developed the character (owing to the director). Andrea Concetti was a most engaging Leporello. The Donna Anna , Donna Elvira and Zerlina by people new to me - Myrto Papatanascu, Carmela Remigio and Manuela Bisceglie. They all looked alike, sounded alike and dressed alike so that you had to know the score if you wanted to tell them apart. In the ROH version when Veronique Gens is singing you know that it is Donna Elvira. But my main problem with this current Frizza - Pizzi production is the characterization of the Don. In there hands they have made this opera into a young man's sexual romp through a gaggle of look-alike girls; a sort of college freshman's "wet dream" of invading and scoring of a sorority house's inhabitants. This is not the Don of da Ponte/Mozart. This don is endlessly virile, has endless women to deflower and has endless horse-play with his servant Leporello. But the score by Mozart and da Ponte paints quite a different picture of the Don. We learn from the catalog aria That he has been around quite a lot and has considerable experience. Rather than some hot-breathed freshman just starting he's already in Spain alone had mil e tre (1003) with a total of about 1800 in a variety of countries. I think he's probably nearing forty (as played in the Losey film of 1979 by Ruggero Raimondi). He still has his obsessions, but he's not as "gamey" as he used to be. That brings us to Leporello. Don Giovanni is an aristocrat. In his world and in Mozart's world that would have influenced how a master would have treated his servant. No horsing around like a couple of (equal status) children. No, the Don is a fading star still with his delusions of youth but an indomitable spirit that I still admire. Donna Anna is the high born lady that still longs for the Don and has the more operatic of the women's arias (and should look the part). Donna Elvira is the more humane and compassionate and to the end still loves the Don. You can feel her pain. Zerlina is an unsophisticated peasant girl. She shouldn't look like or sing like a "lady". I liked the way Frizza handles the orchestra and there are god points in this production but this is not my Don