- Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Claudio Abbado - Ildebrando d'Arcangelo - Uwe Heilmann - Soile Isokoski - Simon Keenlyside - Patrizia Pace - Carmela Remigio - Matti Salminen - Bryn Terfel - Chamber Orchestra of Europe - Lutz Bode - Frédérique Chabaud - Marc Gillod - Horst Leuchtmann - Lionel Salter - Christopher Alder - John Fisher
Mozart: Don Giovanniby Claudio Abbado
Although it has many great moments, this "Don Giovanni," pieced together from a run of live performances in January and February 1997, struggles to find its stride. Abbado brings out orchestral textures and colors that other conductors often overlook, but his tempo choices frequently feel slow, sapping important moments of their energy. The/a>… See more details below
Although it has many great moments, this "Don Giovanni," pieced together from a run of live performances in January and February 1997, struggles to find its stride. Abbado brings out orchestral textures and colors that other conductors often overlook, but his tempo choices frequently feel slow, sapping important moments of their energy. The opening scene, Donna Anna's arias, and the all-important second act finale all drag like a ball and chain. The result is a recording that has many drawbacks of a live recording -- the more distant focus and occasional sloppiness -- but rarely the energy or cohesion. Simon Keenlyside is an excellent Giovanni; he has the ideal blend of vocal qualities for the job, and finds the sneer behind the lothario's winning smile. Bryn Terfel was born to play Leporello, singing the part with a gruff abandon and charm that few have ever matched; he goes over the top sometimes, but you'll forgive him for it. Of the rest of the cast, only Soile Isokoski and Ildebrando D'arcangelo make strong impressions. But D'arcangelo is largely wasted on the small role of Masetto (his Leporello for John Eliot Gardiner is fantastic), and Isokoski, although a stunning singer, never quite lets Donna Elvira catch fire in the way she often can. As Donna Anna, Carmela Remigio struggles with Abbado's slow tempos in her two arias, and occasionally sounds strident on top. Uwe Heilmann's vocally tentative Ottavio doesn't add much to the production. And Patrizia Pace's "Zerlina," while pretty, lacks character. In the end, the reasons to recommend this recording are Keenlyside's Giovanni, Terfel's Leporello, and the playing of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe under Abbado. But if you're looking for a great recording of the opera, there are better rounded and more exciting choices to consider first.
- Release Date:
- Deutsche Grammophon
Performance CreditsClaudio Abbado Primary Artist
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Though many might disagree with me, this is the Don Giovanni for the next generation of opera lovers. It is masterfully cast, sung, and acted. Keenlyside offers a nobility of character that the Don has not had since Fischer-Dieskau and Allen. Terfel (a powerful Don in his own right) is perfectly suited to the scene stealing Leporello. His bright, open-throated bass-baritone fits the clever servant roles such as Figaro and Leporello to a T. Rising star Ildebrando d'Arcangelo is a joy as Masetto and his rich, pleasant voice bounces with vitality. Octavio is well serviced by Uwe Heilmann, who brings just the right ammount of weight to the difficult tenor role. Donna Anna is sung perhaps a little too lightly by Carmela Remigio who seems better suited to the Susannas and Despinas of the opera world, but her tone is clear and unwavering and quite pleasant to the ear. Solile Isokoski provides the best reading of Donna Elvira in recent memory, her sound is full and bright and never swallowed. The only things wrong with this set, other than some lagging tempos are the singers in the roles of Zerlina and the Commendatore. Matti Salminen straight-tones his way through his part and sounds quite ancient and not up to par, and Patrizia Pace is a poor Zerlina, with wavering pitch and little to no vibrato. These considerations aside, this Don Giovanni is quite an accomplishment and deserves a space on your shelf!