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Mozart;Wolfgang Amadeus Don Gi [Import]


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Barcelona's "Don" better than anemic Salzburg version! July 11 2007
By Evan M. Malin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
This predominantly Spanish cast handles the Mozart classic effortlessly. Carlos Alvarez is in even better vocal and acting form than on the Muti DVD, being both handsome and despicable in the same breath. Sonia Ganassi is an impassioned Elvira, and Maria Bayo hits a true note of pathos and dignity as Donna Anna. Jose Bros (Why is he not at the Met????) continues to be one of the opera world's few real successors to the Wunderlich and Bjoerling roles. He acts realistically, with style and verve, and sings with depth and emotion. Ringing high notes and excellent phrasing complete his portrait. The rest of the cast is also excellent, and the direction is credible, and is in alignment with the original story - just updated to the early 1940's. Setting is integrated ino the story, and it works! (Unlike the bizarre contemporary Salzburg version with Hampson, with the gratuitous girls in undies, and people walking around in circles - who cares!)

Quite recommendable, even for a first time viewer!
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great Spanish production July 7 2010
By A. Lupu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
It is set in the dark world of 1940 with the appropriate dark lighting. Mozart would have been proud to see this staging; in general it conveys De Ponte and Mozart message even better than other more time accurate staging I have seen. Despite the different time setting it does not disturb neither the characters nor the music as envisioned by Mozart. Each aria is beautifully sung; in particular Jose Bros (Don Ottavio) is worth mentioning. The filming is also very effective. Those arias that portray internal conflicts and emotions are filmed as close-ups. It is the character and you (the listener) only; the rest of the world is outside. Very effective. Carlos Alvarez is a great Don Giovanni (Don Juan), despicable and probably the only main character that does not evolve through the drama. I strongly recommend this BluRay recording to even those who have never seen a Don Giovanni production. The recorded sound is great and your will enjoy it fully. The extra interviews are worth viewing, although the English translation looses some of the nuances spoken in Spanish. The interview with the stage director Lluis Pasqual helps understand the images projected at the end.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great singing and acting, too dark on the stage April 20 2011
By PETER VADASZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
The performance of this Spanish production is outstanding in terms of singing and acting. Unfortunately, the director made poor decisions from moving the period of the opera to the 1940's which makes the story-line less believable, while his intent was the opposite. However, the most annoying part of the production is that most of the stage is far too dark to the extent that the faces of the actors cannot be properly seen even in close-ups. The fact that Don Giovanni has a dark personality does not mean that the performance has to hide it by dark stage. If not for this shortcomings I would have given it five stars.
17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Don Giovanni Sept. 15 2007
By Bruce M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
A first rate prodution on all levels!

The music (Mozart!); the voices (the whole cast, though the Commendetore could have been deeper in bass)!; the acting/staging!(great interpretation-- Franco's 1930s Spain)!; Set Design (inspired)! The orchestra... on the money!

The only flaw in the DVD is the subtitles. Many times the translations were off (sometimes way off) in their timing and the attachment to the singer singing the line.

Despite the flaw of the subtitles, this production is well worth it. It would be very hard to find a better production. This version joins my favorite DON GIOVANNI DVDs... The Peter Sellars', DON GIOVANNI with the Perry twins, and Joseph Losey's classic DON GIOVANNI version with Ruggero Raimondi.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent overall July 24 2013
By Bob Epstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
Don Giovanni has not been very lucky on video. You have to go back to the magnetic Don of Thomas Allen, twice captured on DVD, to see an absolutely first-rate Don. Unfortunately, his richly spontaneous 1987 La Scala performance is marred by poor filming and an average Leporello, and his 1991 Cologne Don has some less than stellar singing from the women.

This 2005 Madrid performance has a great deal going for it. The success of the opera rises and falls with the success of the Don, and here we have a commanding, ruthless, dark voiced Carlos Alvarez. He has all the malice and menace the character requires, Unfortunately, he does not have enough of its charm and allure. Alvarez dominates the stage, as he should, but sometimes you wonder just what women see in him. Certainly, his dashing good looks and strong physical presence don't hurt. Still, a fine accomplishment, just not a complete one, lacking the last ounce of charisma.

Fortunately, the remainder of the cast is as strong as any I have seen, especially the women. Maria Bayo gives Donna Anna a most sensitive, and searching interpretation, beautifully sung. There is a touching simplicty here with a terrific voice that is most moving. Her act two "Crudele? Ah no, mio bene!" practically stills time. It is artful without artifice. Maria Jose Moreno's Zerlina is also very fine, irresistible and charming, lovingly sung. Sonia Ganassi presents a strong, well portrayed Donna Elvira, although her tempo could be more flexible in act two's "mi tradi quell' alma." It needs to breathe a little more. Lorenzo Regazzo's Leporello is, at it should, be, a fine foil to the Don, and in excellent voice, with good stage presence. He could show more fear in the final scene with the Commendatore but still this is a stellar interpretation. Jose Bros has an utterly lovely tenor for Don Ottavio, a balm on the ear. If only he did something with it interpretively and moved physically like he meant it. He has little stage presence, but oh, that voice. The Masetto of Jose Antonio Lopez has a pinched sound to a fairly pleasant voice, without a great deal of tonal variety, although he does show the spirit and anger of the character.

What strongly sets this performance apart is the compelling staging of Lluis Pasqual, updated to 1930s fascist Spain. Crumbling edifices, fancy cars, stunning period costumes and outstanding direction give a strong sense of purpose to the action. His ideas complement the story quite nicely. The macho Don fits in well with this strong-armed era. Pasqual has some real flair and creativity, too. When Leporello sings his catalog aria, not only does he show the ledger of Don Giovanni's conquests to Donna Elvira, he also produces a picture book, a delightful touch. And don't miss the inventive and fascinating ending. Pasqual takes some liberties here but is most thought provoking.

Unfortunately, as with almost any updated staging of the opera, some things don't work so well, as Mozart wrote certain period aspects into the piece. When the Don is first seducing Zerlina away from her fiancee, Masetto, she speaks of Don Giovanni being a "gentleman" and a "nobleman," persuading Masetto not to worry. In the 1780s these terms had some cachet, but 150 years later, they fall lamely on the ear and mind (although the Don flashing open his sport coat, supposedly threatening Masetto with a weapon, certainly has its desired effect).

Some minor anachronisms and inconsistencies could easily have been fixed. When the Don throws paper money to bribe Leporello in act two, the libretto speaks of gold coins. Gold would have been believable in this 1930s context. In the final banquet scene, when Leporello is supposed to be munching on a piece of pheasant, it's obvious to any blu ray viewer (and likely nobody in the audience) he is chomping on a carrot. Come on, give the poor servant a piece of chicken at least.

Conductor Victor Pablo Perez leads the fine Madrid Symphony Orchestra with spirit and strength. He could, however, bend a little more in his approach. There are several instances where his inflexible and speedy tempos need some slight modifications of pace, some breathing room. He can occasionally grow glib, tiring on the ear. He rushes Zerlina along too quickly and without bending in her act one "batti, batti." He could use more "bendi, bendi," although Zerlina makes as much of this as she can.

Wonderful picture, with excellent sound quality and balance. Doesn't blu ray really spoil us! A very fine performance in a catalog not filled with them.


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