Don Giovanni from Covent Garden

Don Giovanni from Covent Garden

Kasper Holten's fabulously inventive staging of Mozart's Don Giovanni arrives on DVD and Bluray - and should be welcomed with open arms. Using Escher-like designs with state of the art technologies (the writing of the Don's lovers in cursice "over" the stage early on, for example), it shows the dark underbelly of society that is exemplified in the actios of Don Giovanni. Superb lighting by Es Devlin captures the atmosphere perfectly, wiht the video projections provided by Luke Halls.

Much of the action takes place between two floors of a building we see on-stage. This video gives a window into preparations for the performance from the viewpoint of the Don here, Erwin Schrott: you can see various aspects of the staging, too, including a hint of the discombobulatory way with the Don's Champagne Aria:

... and here we can see how the two storeys are used to telling effect in a scene for the Don, Leporello and Elvira (the superb Myrto Papatanasiu:

This is not the exact same performance I reviewed here, although many cast members are the same. The DVD/Bluray perfomanec seems to have more mobility about it than the rather leaden performance I attended .. which, as you can see from the review linked above, is a very good thing indeed. The opera does move here, and satisfyingly so.

It is the vocal excellence that is most memorable. Listen to this, the great duet between the Don and Zerlina, "Là ci darem la mano," here with Schrott and the wonderful Louise Alder, a singer who has previously featured on Classical Explorer:

Whatever the Don's "catalogue" of conquests, a Don Giovanni stands or falls on the connection between its Don and its Leporello. Here, Erwin Schrott and Roberto Tagliavini provide the dream team, Tagliavini chock-full of character.

The Donna Anna is one of the stand-out perfformers here, Malin Byström: strong, yet nuanced. Have a look at this video to see various cast members' reactions to the opera and its staging:

The nightmarish setting of the "Cosa rara" quote is remarkable; and the two storeys find teh Commendatore's ghost appearing, blood-splatered, directly above the stage-level Don. This video does include the final sextet (some earlier productions of this staging at the Royal Opera didn't).

While Calixto Bieito's staging remains an ideal complement to this (with an emphasis on drug taking, sex and hallucinogenic experience), Holten's stakes a major claim to being the production to have in one's collection.

Incidentally the third link below is to the Liceu production mentioned above, but it seems prohibitively expensive at this price so it might be an idea to hop around ...

Don Giovanni DVDDon Giovanni BlurayDon Giovanni De Billy DVD