Asian-American baritone saxophonist Fred Ho has been a champion of freedom and expressionism in modern creative jazz for some time. A continuing battle with cancer has inspired him to assemble the Green Monster Big Band, with reference to the famed left-field wall at Fenway Park in Boston, but more directly related to the huge sound and diverse ideas this juggernaut ensemble represents. Ho is influenced by the '60s big bands, television or movie themes, and the psychedelic rock he grew up with, all present on this ambitious program.
As in the case of "Cosi", Solti recorded "Don Giovanni" twice, the first time in 1978. It was a work he had loved since he heard Bruno Walter conduct it in Salzburg in 1936, with Ezio Pinza in the title role. His 1978 performance is distinguished by the presence of some of the leading Mozartian singers of the day, notably Margaret Price's Donna Anna, Stuart Burrows's Don Ottavio and Lucia Popp's Zerlina. Appreciable quantities, too, are Bernd Weikl's potent Giovanni, Gabriel Bacquier' demotic Leporello and Sylvia Sass's flamboyant Donna Elvira.
For this 2010 production, the first new staging of the opera in 10 years, Glyndebourne welcome back the winning team of director Jonathan Kent and designer Paul Brown with Festival Music Director, Vladimir Jurowski conducting the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Set at a time of seismic social and cultural change - in a Fellini-esque vision of post-war life - Jonathan Kent's urgently propulsive production offers a 'white-knuckle rollercoaster ride' through the events of the Don's last day as they unfold in and around Paul Brown's magical 'box of tricks' set.
Don Giovanni, a libertine, a rake with a devil-may-care attitude, is portrayed magnificently by Teddy Tahu Rhodes in this Opera Australia production, where he first appears on stage in a costume where less is definitely more! Charismatic and sexy, Rhodes acting and singing are magnificent. His misused servant, Leporello, is played by Conal Coad, who skilfully promotes the opera's comic elements whilst delivering a thumping bass full of drama.
The classic stage designs of Carl Friedrich Oberle form the backdrop to the drama of Don Giovanni's last day on earth, before he is hurled in to Hell's flames by the Commendatore, Daniel Sumegi, whose basso profundo is befittingly momentous.