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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best Don Giovanni in the last for decades, 26 Dec. 2006
Jorge Fernandez Baca (Lima, Peru) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mozart - Don Giovanni (Padmore/Delunsch/Berg/Mattei/Harding) [DVD] (DVD)
Since the memorable Giulini's version recorded in 1961, I had never heard a so well balanced production of this opera. The title role is wonderfully performed by the acclaimed Swedish baritone Peter Mattei, who has revealed as the best gifted Don in modern times, maybe with the exception of Thomas Hampson. The warmth of his voice and his subtleness to declaim the recitatives reminds us of Eberhard Wächter. His acting is also remarkable: he makes a diabolic Don Giovanni we can not avoid to hate and find irresistible at the same time. Gilles Cachemaille makes a perfect Leporello. Having played the title role before he has an extraordinary capacity to switch roles with the Don, a quality that is hard to find in other singers, maybe with the exception of Ferrucio Furlanetto during the prime of his career. The beautiful French soprano Mireille Delunsch makes a fragile Donna Elvira who makes us believe capable of redeeming the Don. She has recently played Violetta in a recent production of La Traviata by Peter Musbach. The gorgeous American soprano Alexandra Dehorties is also sensational as Donna Anna. With the exception of Renee Fleming in recent times and Joan Sutherland in the sixties there are very few sopranos capable of facing the arias with the delicacy required for that role. Mark Padmore is great as Don Ottavio, his way of singing the two famous arias "Dalla Sua Pace" and "Il Mio Tesoro" can be compared with Luigi Alva in Giulini's version. Lisa Lassson is a delicious Zerlina. Daniel Harding's conduction is superb and so is Peter Brook's production. His mise en scene is minimalistic and quite similar to Deborah Warner's in the 1986 Glyndebourne Festival Opera
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superlative winner, 10 April 2012
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mozart - Don Giovanni (Padmore/Delunsch/Berg/Mattei/Harding) [DVD] (DVD)
This is a very unusual production and performance which in turn leads to an equally unusual final result. The key word to describe all of these factors is `intensity'. A good place to start might be to watch the 15 minute interview with director Peter Brook who answers a number of perceptive questions in relevant and justified detail.

Peter Brook has, up to this point, avoided directing operas (of which he clearly has a considerable knowledge) because of the compromises which would normally be imposed upon him by other considerations which would dilute his control relative to that when producing plays. A major condition in taking on this directorship was that all participants (singers, conductor, and orchestra -everybody involved) would be fully committed to a whole year of repeat performances on tour instead of the usual few nights. In the event this production ran for two years worldwide without any major changes to personnel.

Thus was such a familiarity achieved between the participants that he was then able to direct the actual production like a Shakespearian play with enormous concentration on the words and the acting. The props were reduced to minimum on the basis that the words and the acting were sufficient and the opera would also be released from its historical context and thus become a universal statement.

Does this work? The answer is a resounding "Yes" which has been reinforced by similar responses supplied by other reviewers. This is without doubt the most involving and dramatic performance of this particular opera, or any other opera one is tempted to add, that collectors are likely to experience. The singers are all of superlative quality and grippingly believable in their respective roles. The lack of scenery actually helps to focus the attention as intended and is artfully moved around to take on new meaning and roles by the singers as required during the action.

All the singers are superb but Peter Mattei must surely have been made for his part as Don Giovanni and he exhibits tremendous vitality throughout which inspires grippingly effective responses from the rest of the cast. Gilles Cachemaille makes for an excellent Leporello to partner him and Nathan Berg adds more weight to the part of Masetto. Equally Mark Padmore is able to infuse Don Ottavio with more resolve than is often the case. The Commendatore is given due gravitas by Gudjon Oskarsson. The two female parts of both Donna Anna and Elvira are sung and acted with considerable energy and drive by Alexandra Deshorties and Lisa Larsson respectively.

Daniel Harding drives the music on with equal dramatic intensity and this concept is fully delivered by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The open-air venue is an exciting feature providing a totally black background and the windy conditions whip the hair and clothing to increased dramatic effect. There are also rumbles of thunder to be heard in the background - especially effective during the murder of the Commendatore and the final scene between him and Giovanni. Even the heavens have conspired in the making of this recording it seems!

The camera work is totally effective capturing the final destruction of Giovanni in a convincingly chilling manner. The actual imaging is sharp throughout as indeed is the revealing sound. This is presented in DTS and stereo.

This is a superlative production, performance which has been captured in excellent sound, especially considering the outdoors nature of the recording. It fully deserves the high regard that it is generally held in and therefore deserves to be a serious consideration for all opera collectors.

Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

Thank you, Ian! (U.K. review)

Great perceptive review with which I wholeheartedly agree. I've finally found th eperfect Don Giovanni (16 DVDs after I started) (U.K. review)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best of the contemporary productions, 18 May 2007
ziggy_fan (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart - Don Giovanni (Padmore/Delunsch/Berg/Mattei/Harding) [DVD] (DVD)
I had waited to buy this for ages. I saw it on TV a couple of years ago and despite the sparsity, this is the best staging of Don Giovanni I have seen on DVD. The close ups show good acting, all parts are superbly sung and the orchestra accompany them with perfection. The sound balance between Orchestra and stage is good.

The best live "on stage" that I have seen was the 1980s ENO production (I think with Leslie Garret as Zerlina), but I am not sure that's available as a video recording. So for now, this recording remains the best for me on DVD.

Enthusiastically recommended.
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