Tag: Beczala

Mozart – Don Giovanni / Salzburg 2006 (3)

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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.

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Mozart – Don Giovanni / Salzburg 2006 (2)

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That a production of Don Giovanni might contain some scantily clad women is not going to surprise anyone. (Well, with some exceptions.) But the women in this are not necessarily there to be ogled. There are the women in fur coats who appear during “madamina, e catologo e questo” – but then there are the women cleaning, and later on a little girl. (This reminded me of the Peter Sellars version, which also had a little girl, but she appeared later. Also, come to think of it, that version also played with the question of whether Leporello and Giovanni were different people, like this one.)

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Mozart – Don Giovanni / Salzburg 2006 (1)

Martin Kusej’s production of Don Giovanni is alternately buzzing white light and blue dimness. The thing begins with a large flat image of a group of women in nothing but stockings, lounging on the floor with their backs to the audience. There is a door in this image, and during the overture we see women in trench coats and heels approaching the door, opening it, and stepping inside.

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Donizetti – Lucia di Lammermoor / Metropolitan Opera 2009 (2)

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The Met’s production of Lucia moves the action from Scotland in the early 1700s to Scotland in the mid-1800s. This has the effect of causing some aspects of the story to not make a whole hell of a lot of sense. For example, Enrico forces Lucia to marry Arturo because he is afraid of getting the axe unless he politically rehabilitates himself, but the sort of political feuding that this fear comes from makes much more sense for the 1600s or very early 1700s than it does for, say, 1835. Being beheaded for political crimes was not a primary concern of Victorian-era Scottish noblemen.

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Donizetti – Lucia di Lammermoor / Metropolitan Opera 2009 (1)

I have to admit, all that Strauss last week spoiled me for Donizetti. In comparison to Der Rosenkavalier, the score of Lucia di Lammermoor feels more than a little bland. Pretty in places, but after a while it starts to feel repetitive – and at the risk of sounding mean-spirited, there is a sense in which if you have heard some of Donizetti’s operas, the rest tend not to come as much of a surprise.

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Mozart – Don Giovanni / Zurich Opera 2007 (2)

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The concept of this production is used to really interesting effect at several points. One of my favorite partes is “batti, batti, bel Masetto,” which Zerlina (Martina Janková) sings not to Masetto, but alone. She’s at the bar and looks genuinely sad – the aria is not a wheedling “you’re not really mad, baby, are you?” number but rather an expression of frustration.

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Mozart – Don Giovanni / Zurich Opera 2007 (1)

I was tempted to begin by saying that someone who had never seen Don Giovanni before would find this production confusing, but on reflection I don’t actually think that this is the case. There are some moderately confusing elements – I will make an attempt at explaining  the woman in white and the three plum-sized rocks of compassion later on – but these are not obtrusive or disruptive.

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Die Entführung aus dem Serail / Hartelius, Beczala, Petibon et al. / Zurich Opera (2003)

This isn’t a DVD but rather a copy of (I think?) a live broadcast from the Zurich Opera in 2003. It’s pretty fantastic.

The staging is simple – a series of blue walls and wooden doors that look perfectly appropriate for Turkey in the eighteenth century. Costumes are eighteenth-century, with Belmonte (Piotr Beczala, who has one of those faces that somehow goes with wearing a white puffy wig) and Pedrillo (Boguslaw Bidzinski) in very nice pink suits and the women in dresses – Konstanze’s is a little more “Turkish.”

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