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Mozart: (Juan) Don Giovanni (Christopher Maltman) (Axiom Films: AXM644) [DVD]
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DON GIOVANNI (JUAN)
The debut feature film of leading opera director Kasper Holten, DON GIOVANNI retells Mozarts classical masterpiece as a story of the modern man's escape from himself and his demons.
Juan is a famous artist and notorious playboy, thanks to his ability to become just what any woman dreams of. He turns his own life into a megalomanic work of art, playing the game of seduction like no other, driven by a manic restlessness that pushes him forward through an endless stream of conquests, betrayals, sex and eventually murder, with death lurking as the only possible outcome.
A portrayal of male sexuality in the 21st century, taken to the extreme, DON GIOVANNI reveals how the blessing of an endless appetite for life and a will to conquer the world, might in reality turn out to be the self-destruction.
A truly unique filmed version of Mozarts famous opera - an intense, vibrant and energetic take on a timeless drama, shot on location in Budapest, Hungary. Every scene and every single detail has been adapted so that it fully exploits the film medias great power to create emotional presence, making use of the full visual vocabulary of modern cinema, following such unorthodox inspirational sources as The Bourne Trilogy and Traffic, while at the same time maintaining the exceptional live experience of opera, since the actors really sing on set.
Directed by leading opera director Kasper Holten, current Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
DVD bonus features: Exclusive interviews with director Kasper Holten and star Christopher Maltman, stills gallery and trailers.
"Holten has created a film that treats the opera with the respectful kind of disrespect that leaves the work's core intact. And the performances are mostly riveting." ****--Geoff Brown, The Times
"Racy, glamorous, colloquial, gripping, full of risk… certain to entice anyone with a taste for bold adventure. Given his (Kasper Holten) deep knowledge and love of opera, you know that whatever he does you're in safe hands."----Fiona Maddocks, Classical Music Critic, The Observer
"A pacey drama complete with sexy escapades, a car chase and hospital scenes. Funnily enough it all sorts of works." Performance **** Recording **** Extras ***--BBC Music Magazine, Christmas'12
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Top Customer Reviews
Filmed in Budapest, with the look and lick of a police drama, Juan is liberal with the original text. Christopher Maltman has a hand in the aptly crude translation, though this clearly isn't meant to be a authentic musical experience (albeit very well played by Concerto Copenhagen). Recits are delivered in Sprechstimme whispers, while arias are either cut or delivered as 'in the character's head' commentaries on the action. Truthfully, Holten hasn't quite cracked how to reconcile naturalistic on-screen drama with the stagey nature of this particular piece, but as an attempt to inject televisual urgency into opera, it's highly appealing.
Maltman's Juan is a party boy with a sideline in dodgy art. Inhabiting a cavernous warehouse in one of Budapest's backstreets, he presents one of the most charming Dons you'll meet. He also looks terrific (and there's a lot of nudity). Leporello is a foul-mouthed East European (played by Mikhail Petrenko), even more begrudging of his role than Da Ponte's hapless cove. Rail he might against Juan's behaviour, but there are a lot of fickle people about.
Maria Bengtsson's Anna is no meek victim (though she batters her eyelids faultlessly). Lying in a witness report about how her father died, she then tries to reach Juan on the phone. Who can blame her when Ottavio is just another wet politico (Peter Lodahl)?Read more ›
Director Kasper Holten and lead Christopher Maltman have pared down the opera giving it a rawness and brilliance perfectly suited to today. Maltman's Juan, buff,toned and in fabulous voice is a seducer instantly recognisable in the age of instagram and snapchat, the user and abuser who gets away with it because he IS so damned attractive. Mikhail Petrenko as Leporello his paparazzi style sidekick is as morally unsound as he is yet he too gains our sympathy at the end.
Holten has some very interesting ideas about the truth of Juan/Giovanni's relationships with the women in his life which I liked very much and which certainly made for interesting debate afterwards. Having his 'victim' be the instigator,his spurned lover realise she has no life without him and his easy conquest cry wolf at the moment of conquest was a brave and innovative idea which really worked for me. The ending was novel too.
Personally I had not heard of this film before literally stumbling across it while surfing YouTube-how glad I am that I did.....who would want to
miss out on the Champagne Aria being sung and staged in such an erotic way??
The DVD includes interesting interviews with both Kasper Holten and Christopher Maltman.
While never replacing the full operatic experience I believe that filmed adaptations such as these have their place in the way we view and respond to opera-the most wonderful art form there is.
I have already written some other reviews in which I have complained about the serious deficiencies of all other opera films in which the sound of a previously made studio recording is used and the singers mime to it. My particular interest in this film is how things have been done differently.
Here the main advance on any previous opera films has to do with the fact that the singing was really done live on set and location. But although the lip-sync may be convincing, there is still slightly insufficient sense of the actual acoustic that might be expected from the scene for the reality to be totally convincing, and therefore you may continue to have some of the usual problem with suspension of disbelief.
Using concealed wireless mikes would tend to largely eliminate the way voices sound in a particular space, but recording for 5.1 'surround' should supply the necessary sense of the acoustic environment.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not The full opera and very focused on Don, where the opera is much more about the people around him. Though great singers, beautiful shots, funny translations and adaptation. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Takes liberties with DG, but is a wonderful cinematic rendition of one of the greatest operas.Published 12 months ago by keith gardiner
Original interpretation. Very daring translation in English of Da Ponte's libretto.Published 14 months ago by Daniele Archibugi
Being an 'Old Timer' I didn't enjoy all the swearing. Singing not top quality. It would have come over better as a film drama.Published on 7 Jun. 2014 by Michael John Littler
Often when tradition is tampered the results are either good or bad; satisfactory or disappointing. However one must keep an open mind. In this case I was not disappointed. Read morePublished on 11 April 2014 by Roy-michel Bolduc
Kasper Holten's vision of a FILM of Don Giovanni makes a fascinating combination of music and a modern film noir.Published on 8 April 2013 by A. Clarke