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Customer Review

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, 9 Dec. 2012
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This review is from: Don Giovanni: Metropolitan Opera (Levine) [DVD] [2005] [NTSC] (DVD)
Seeing the other reviews, I am well aware that enjoyment of performing arts is a highly subjective thing. So what may work for me will not work for somebody else and vice versa. So when before buying this DVD I did a research on the available versions and settled on this one, it is my subjective opinion of what I find nice in sound and in setting. And even this is a compromise for many things that don't exist joined in one production. Peter Mattei would be my preferred Don Giovanni; however, the productions wherein he has taken part are hard to digest as a whole. I would have loved to see Kurt Moll as truly intimidating basso-profundo Commendatore, but, alas! it was also not available.
So.. yes, this is a safely "traditional" MET production with somewhat heavy conducting. And even if the costumes and decorations look somewhat "with a beard", it is still a decent and evenly balanced version of Don Giovanni, especially in the sense of the cast. My greatest pet peeve is usually the tenors cast for Don Ottavio, the directors seem to disregard this role and cast tenors that sound like cracked bells. Paul Grove might not be the most dashing Don Ottavio, but in the given setting he gives a very convincing performance as loyal and long-waiting lover. Renee Fleming may not a very youthful Donna Anna, but she gives a very dignified aspect to the role, and - oh! - her voice, it took me by surprise. Bryn Terfel is perhaps not quite a looker for the role of Don Giovanni, but also he gives his unique interpretation to the role. I've seen various Don Giovannis, from mere seducers to nearly suicidally gloomy, but this one is a unrepenting, unapologetic villain, a brute without a drop of conscience, true to his essence till the last moment. Ferruccio Furlanetti is experienced in his role and gives us a traditionally cowardly Leporello with his side comments. Solveig Kringelborn gives us a somewhat ridiculous but still loving Donna Elvira, and also the Zerlina and Masetto pair with Hei-Kyung Hong and John Relyea is pleasant to see and hear.
Music of Mozart asks no additional comments and Don Giovanni is the one work where I would dare to use the word "epic" to describe the music. It is magnificent.

So in summary, this version perhaps is lacking the "wow, I love it!" factor, but other than that it is a good version to have for someone to start with Don Giovanni, with a cast of well-balanced voices and a traditional approach to the interpretation. Traditional is not necessarily a bad thing, there's enough of modern interpretations which leaves one with "what on earth were they thinking?" feeling in the end.
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