Mozart – Don Giovanni / Salzburg 2006 (3)

(Previous section here.)

There are a lot of really interesting performances in this. I don’t know if it’s my favorite Giovanni musically – I am not sure I have one of those – but there’s plenty to like about it. Melanie Diener as Donna Elvira has a lovely ringing resonant sound to her voice; the last high notes in “taci, ingiusto core” were really pretty. There is something solid, even at times careful about the interpretation.

One of my favorite moments in this was from Christine Schäfer as Donna Anna. When she first appeared I was not sure how it was going to go, but I came around to it. Her “non mi dir” was one of the nicest moments in this, in terms of that sweet spot of good singing and dramatic punch. There were also some expressive moments of orchestral playing, e.g. with the violins during the recitative that precedes Elvira’s “mi tradi” and the phrasing in the orchestra during the intro to “ah, chi mi dice mai” – a roundness to the phrases that I liked.

At the same time, I didn’t come away thinking that anything new had been revealed to me musically in this production. I didn’t dislike listening to it, but at no point did I have the urge to close my eyes. (Sometimes with these visual heavy versions I feel like I’m not hearing anything because I’m thinking about the concept. Or rather, when it’s one of these Mozart operas that I’ve heard a lot, I have to make an effort to focus. I noticed when I was in L.A. at those performances of Figaro that I was listening with my eyes closed at the best parts, because I didn’t want to miss any of it. Maybe I need to lay off the DVDs for a while?)

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