Don Giovanni, Metropolitan Opera live relay from New York, October 2011Posted on 30 October 2011
For Don Giovanni lovers it doesn’t get much better than this.
The Met’s new music director Fabio Luisi gave a sparkling account of the overture, and the performance never looked back. Mariusz Kwiecien combined noble aplomb with demi-world charm as the Don, and Luca Pisaroni was the perfect foil as his sidekick Leporello. Their early dialogue was superbly done, and Barbara Frittoli as the Don’s erstwhile lover Donna Elvira showed huge vulnerability in her portrayal. Later in Act I when Donna Anna suddenly realises Giovanni was the man who seduced her and killed her father she recalls going outside to stop him and her disingenuous, arditamente il seguo … remains curiously unquestioned by her would-be husband Don Ottavio. Marina Rebeka as Anna makes it sound as if she really is lying about her feelings, but Ramón Vargas continues to sing in loving adoration and concern, and his voice and breath control are remarkable.
The peasant dancing at the party that Giovanni puts on for the wedding couple Zerlina and Masetto, was delightfully done, so far as one could see from the cinema screen, and Mojca Erdmann’s lyrical Zerlina was prettily flirtatious with the Don, and cleverly seductive with her husband-to-be. With Joshua Bloom as a red-blooded and anxious Masetto they made a superb couple, and her vedrai, carino … in Act II, after he has been beaten up, was beautifully delivered.
As the Commendatore, Štefan Kocán gave a fine performance before his death in Act I, and then made a dramatic entrance at the end, with his bluish make-up helped by Paule Constable’s lighting. The flames are real and Kwiecien’s insouciant Don goes down like the captain of his ship, bowing to no-one, not even the powers of the afterworld. It’s always difficult to tell on the cinema screen, but this production by Michael Grandage looks very good indeed, and with Fabio Luisi keeping everything on track musically it was a wonderful Giovanni.