Thursday, December 20, 2012

Don Giovanni – Zurich 2006 (Part 2: Never Put Your Hand Inside a Singing Statue)

Simon Keenlyside
as Don Giovanni
as Leporello
As I noted yesterday, I didn't like this Don Giovanni much the first time I watched it. But reading the Earworm's recent reviews encouraged me to revisit the performance. The mirrors and drapes and other nice touches in the production emphasize the ambiguity that one often feels about this opera. Donna Anna sings her Act 2 aria (Non mi dir) supposedly to Ottavio, but she is wearing Giovanni's red velvet jacket, and holding the hand of her dead father (or the hand of a representation of her dead father.) Her heart belongs to Daddy, and she feels obligated to Ottavio, but I think she wants Giovanni. As Ottavio moves towards her, she steps downstage, waves her hand to bring down a curtain behind her, blocking Ottavio. She sings the bravura ending of her aria "in one", downstage in front of the curtain.

Some odd touches include the dancing, which is always tricky anyway when the setting is updated. Was the music too fast for the choreography, or was that on purpose to make the party look like it was getting out of control (which it was, so probably yes)? The woman with the turban reminded me of (A) Nights in the Garden of Good and Evil; and (B) the film Ghost. I was unconvinced by Giovanni getting his hand stuck in the diminutive statue. And why does he put on the Commendatore's jacket? I guess to show how much he isn't afraid. It is cool how he just "disappears" before the others come in for the finale (the curtains again.) 

In the first few performances, Ottavio sported a
"daddy" look, but by the time they made the video,
they "youthen-ized" him.
I think this is the first performance in which Zerlina was the standout character for me. Martina Jankova possesses a wonderful light Mozartian soprano, and has worked her way up at Zurich from one of the three Ladies to Susanna, Despina, and Zerlina. She'd sing a killer Donna Anna, but I think her personality is too perky for poor repressed Anna. Eva Mei portrays "repressed" very wellor maybe it's indigestion, or maybe she just detected an unpleasant odor. Of all the singers here, she is the most singerly. By that I mean, she looks like she's always thinking about singing. Not that one shouldn't when one is an opera singer. But I don't want to see all that thought. Malin Hartelius is wonderful as usual, singing beautifully, and playing alternately angry, sad, depressed, in total shock, and finally, resignation (but never insane - confused maybe, but not insane). Piotr Beczala, Anton Scharinger, and Zurich house stalwart Rheinhard Mayr all are impressive as Ottavio, Leporello, and Masetto respectively. And let me not forget to praise Franz Welser-Möst for his outstanding podium work. 

In the final ensemble, Zerlina, who is the least damaged by the days events, plays Mother, distributing the gift-wrapped packages sitting on the bar. 
Are they leftover wedding gifts? No, Zerlina is reading tags as she picks up the packages. They are for specific people. Did Giovanni leave them? Or maybe they are from the Commendatore... 
The she pours drinks for everyone. As the coda plays, they all turn and wave to their images in the mirror. Are they waving goodbye? Or hello? Or...?

Act 2: Finale

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are very welcome! They won't be moderated; but rude, abusive, and/or radically off-topic posts will be removed.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...