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Mozart: Don Giovanni [Glyndebourne 1977] [Benjamin Luxon, Stafford Dean, Horiana Branisteanu] [Arthaus: 102312] [DVD] [NTSC]

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Product details

  • Actors: Benjamin Luxon, Stafford Dean, Horiana Branisteanu, Rachel Yakar, Leo Goeke
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Arthaus
  • DVD Release Date: 2 April 2013
  • Run Time: 172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 141,170 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Live recording from the Glyndebourne FestivaL Opera, 1977

Don Giovanni Benjamin Luxon
Leporello Stafford Dean
Donna Anna Horiana Branisteanu
Donna Elvira RacheL Yakar
Don Ottavio Leo Goeke
Zerlina ELizabeth GaLe
The London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor Bernard Haitink
Stage Director Peter HaLL

Since its debut in 1934 the Glyndebourne Festival has put a focus on Mozart operas and developed a great competence in staging them. Mozart’s operas seem to be made for the small but fine opera house in Glyndebourne and it’s not surprising that the 1977 Don Giovanni, one of Mozart’s great masterpieces, was a huge success.

This production is conducted by Bernard Haitink who holds the opinion, that no other composer had more opera in his blood than Mozart. It has been proven, for example, that Mozart had no overture for Don Giovanni until the evening before the premiere in Prague and wrote it down in just one night.

Like the premiere’s success of the opera in Prague in 1787 the Glyndebourne’s version staged by peter hall was praised by audience and critics alike: “We witness a lively and wide-awake ensemble piece that has easily survived all these decades, and still manages to teach many directors the art of playing theatre.” (WDR)

With outstanding performances by Horiana Branisteanu, Benjamin Luxon, Stafford Dean and Leo Goeke this production is a real highlight.

Sound Format: PCM Stereo
Picture Format: 4:3
DVD Format: DVD 9 / NTSC
Subtitle Languages: IT (Original Language), GB, DE, FR, ES
Running Time: 174 mins
FSK: 0
Region Code: 0

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mhr on 23 Feb 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a very enjoyable film version made by RAI, the state-owned broadcasting corporation of Italy in 1960, as a TV broadcast programme. Being an old film made in a studio in black and white nearly 50 years ago, the picture quality is not very good. The singers mimic to their own libretti which were separately recorded. But this disparity should not bother viewers so much, as one can get used to it very quickly.

Musically there is almost no weakness. The conducting by Molinari-Pradelli is crisp and incisive. The singing is glorious and the acting is done in an old-fashioned exaggerated manner, reminding viewers how opera singers would have acted on stage in those days.

Mario Petri is a tall and suave Don Giovanni with a warm and resonant voice. Sesto Bruscantini is a comical and timid Leporello and sings and acts extremely well.

Leila Gencer is a very convincing Donna Elvira; here Donna Elvira is portrayed more as a vulnerable and suffering woman than as a strong and vengeful character as so often by other singers. However, Teresa Stich-Randall's (Donna Anna) voice has a slight edginess on high notes, which may not be to every listener's taste. Graziella Sciutti is a wonderful Zerlina. Young and attractive, she perfectly looks the role of the bride-to-be of Masetto. Her voice has a very warm and sweet timbre. Her acting is marvellous. Who could resist this Zerlina?

The mono recording has limited sonority, but the sound is not bad at all. It should enable listeners to derive a lot of enjoyment from this historic recording. In summary, this DVD is well worth viewing for those interested in this great opera. In terms of rating, I would give it 3 because of the poor visual quality by today's standard.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The music and singing are of the top quality. All the performers have beautiful voices and are very well cast. I perticularly loved the (my favourite Mozart Duet), La ci darem la mano sung by Don Giovanni (Benjamin Luxon) and Zelina (Elizabeth Gale).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Masterpiece of a masterpiece 24 May 2005
By Robert S. Fox - Published on
Format: DVD
A perfect visual companion to the capital Guilini EMI recording. First-rate performances all around, singing and acting, staging and directing; not a sour note in the piece. I generally prefer filmed performances before live audiences but this production has the feel of a live performance (and not the feel of those Hollywood productions--"Carmen," "Traviata"). I hadn't heard of Petri, but he plays the title role with power, guile and charm. His paean to "liberta" is convincing. Bruscantini is brilliant as Leporello (I didn't think Taddei could be rivalled). Gencer and Stich-Randall play Elvira and Anna with dignity. As in the Guilini EMI recording, Alva is masterful in his two difficult Ottavio arias and Sciuti is utterly enchanting in her Zerlina arias. Cesari plays the cuckolded Masetto with dignity.

Molinari-Pradelli conducts at a proper pace. Actually, the performance sounds as clear as a CD. I didn't notice any cuts. The only drawback--not too annoying--might be the synchronization between voice and lips in some moments, but this film was made in 1960.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Great music, dated production 16 Nov 2005
By B. Farconi - Published on
Format: DVD
The singing is exceptional, Alva, Bruscantini and Gencer really shine in their roles. Unfortunately, many scenes show a big problem this film has, that is poor coordination between the lips and the voice, which I found really annoying, and acting which seemed stilted. I think any of these singers would be great on stage, but I think the filming and trying to keep up with the soundtrack saps them of energy. Also, the costumes are really bad, they look very old TV style. This is a black and white production, which could look good with stylish costumes, but it also detracts here.
If you would like to hear this great historic performance of Don Giovanni, you may want to get the audio version, I don't think this video adds any value to it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Classic Performance 11 Sep 2010
By James A. Altena - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though there are many performances of Don Giovanni on DVD nowadays, this one stands in a league by itself. It will not be to everyone's taste; it is filmed in black and white, and has monaural sound. However, unlike most other film versions, there are no gimmicks or Eurotrash or alterations of the plot or meaning; the settings and costumes are all tasteful, realistic and in their proper period. By today's standards, some of the acting is rather foursquare (particularly by Gencer and Stich-Randall) or hammy (Bruscantini, a wonderfully comic presence in some other filmed operas) -- not that most filmed operas offer anything better. But what counts above all is the singing, and that is on an exalted plane that few other performances have equaled and virtually none surpassed. Mario Petri, little known outside of Italy, is a superlative Don -- suitably handsome, debonair, and seductive in appearance, with a handsome, mellifluous voice as smooth as silk and perfectly produced in all its registers. His finely nuanced interpretation that brings out every aspect of the protagonist's multi-faceted character -- its charm, roguishness, cruelty, and narcissism. Sesto Bruscantini was the premier basso buffo of his day, and unlike the often crude Fernando Corena he lavishes true parlando singing on his turn as a rather hapless Leporello. Luigi Alva was a first-class artist saddled with a second-class voice, but his Don Ottavio here is one of his best achievements on disc, and outshines many rivals. The little-know Renato Cesari is an excellent Masetto, who once again takes care to sing his part rather than engage in bluster, but without slighting characterization. Graziella Sciutti practically owned the role of Zerlina, and employs her bright but sweet soubrette soprano to excellent effect, supplemented by acting that is alternately perky and demure. Teresa Stich-Randall is perhaps a bit of an acquired taste; her voice was one of aristocratic pureness and total technical security, but a bit lacking in warmth and passion; while she dispatches the role of Donna Anna with a vocal accuracy seldom matched by others, her temperament was better suited to roles such as the Countess in Figaro and Eurydice in Gluck's Orfeo. Surprisingly, Leyla Gencer is less of a spitfire Donna Elvira that one would have supposed from her other assumptions of bel canto and Verdi heroines, but her singing is always most able and expressive. The only letdown vocally is the Commendatore of the totally obscure Heinz Borst; his voice is too light in timbre and rather hollow and wobbly in production. Francesco Molinari-Pradelli outscore many putatively more qualified Mozart conductors in leading a performance that is brisk, fluid, and transparent, and yet weighty at key dramatic moments when needed. Overall, one could argue that this should receive only four stars rather than five, due to some of the minor flaws and limitations mentioned here; but I give it five because of how it totally outshines the competition. This set can go alongside the classic 1954 Wilhelm Furtwaengler performance from Salzburg as a historical treasure of an immortal operatic performance.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Valuable historic performance of Mozart's greatest work. 8 July 2010
By Abert - Published on
Format: DVD
That Don Giovanni is Mozart's greatest work has not been disputed. In fact, some even claim that this is the greatest opera ever composed.
This great work has been widely performed and prolificly documented either in sound or in sound and visual. I personally own more than half a dozen DVDs and a dozen of sound recordings of this opera.
This 1960 film conducted by Molinari-Pradelli boosts of a well-nigh perfect cast: Mario Petri's Don is in every bit as convincing as Eberhard Waechter in the Giulini recording - dark, suave, luminous and villainly all in one. Perhaps the only one to compare visually as well as vocally with Petri is Cesare Siepi. Sesto Bruscantini protrayed the most 'buffo' Leporello. His vocal as well as acting skills are both of the highest order, and really shines in this role. Of the male cast, another truly outstanding performance comes in Luigi Alva's unlovely Ottavio. Unlovely the character might be, Alva put up a truly daunting show in Ottavio's fiendishly difficult arias. Cesari's Massetto is fuly convincing, if not outright brilliant.
One of the most difficult aspect in staging Don Giovanni is to line up three top sopranos. Well, here we have here, three unimpeachably capable sopranos to grace Mozart's score: Teresa Stich-Randall, the American 'Joan Sutherland', delivering a beautiful rendition of Donna Anna and putting up a truly noble front dramatically. She is flanked by Leyla Gencer, another incomparable Donna Elvira in the same ranking as Elisabeth Schwarzkopf and Lisa Della Casa. The Zerlina is the Giulini choice Graziella Scuitii, who at 1960 was in top charm and vocal capability. Her petty stature and silvery soprano really could not have been bettered in any choice for Zerlina.
The picture and sound quality, however, are both historical, and if you are not mindful of these, this DVD really should under no circumstances by overlooked.
It is simply impossible to line up such musical talents in one show these days!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Must Buy for Mozart and Opera Lovers 31 Aug 2011
By SLK - Published on
Format: DVD
Yes, technology has progressed in leaps and bounds since 1960 and the production itself is old-fashioned but why any Mozart or opera lover wouldn't want to own this DVD is beyond me. This is one opera I never get tired of and it's wonderful that these old RAI treasures are available, what a treat for historians and fans alike. I'd never heard of Petri but he is certainly up to the title role; in fact the cast was excellent all around singing-wise. I actually liked Bruscantini's mugging as Leporello, it livened up a pretty static staging (Alva walks very stiffly but handles Ottavio's music perfectly, Gencer constantly puts her hand up as if to shield her eyes). Stich-Randall and Gencer may be lacking dramatically but both sounded great. And my God, Alva is about the handsomest Ottavio I've ever seen!
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