After the success of Così fan tutte and The Marriage of Figaro, René Jacobs' CD recording of this centrepiece of the Mozart/Da Ponte trilogy offered us his reflections on Classical opera and garnered serious acclaim worldwide. Performed at the Innsbruck festival in August 2006 and filmed in Baden-Baden, this production is nourished by his thoughts on Don Giovanni as taboo-breaker but still respects Mozart's intentions as closely as possible.
In the documentary Looking for Don Giovanni, the director Nayo Titzin follows the creation of this production in the search for musical truth.
Academy Award-winner Ron Howard’s authorized and highly anticipated documentary feature film about The Beatles’ phenomenal early career The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years is based on the first part of The Beatles’ career (1962-1966) – the period in which they toured and captured the world’s acclaim…
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.
Luis Pasqual's powerful production for the Spanish capital sets Da Ponte's timeless story of sleaze and seduction into the dark world of 1940s Spain. Carlos Álvarez, in the title role, toys with the affections of Donna Anna, Zerlina and the Spanish lady Donna Elvira, before his overpowering methods finally bring his own destruction. "José Bros is a luxurious Don Ottavio, with an excellent high register, perfect diction and an exquisite vocal elegance. Alvarez is the perfect Trickster of Seville. Victor Pablo Pérez, one of the most reputed conductors of the Spanish scene, manages a crystal clear work, very attentive to the beauty of Mozart's score." (La Razón, Madrid)
Frank Zappa’s concerts at the Roxy Theatre in Holywood in December 1973 are legendary. Frank and the Mothers played three nights on December 8th, 9th & 10th and these shows formed the basis of the “Roxy & Elsewhere” album that was released in 1974…
Mozart’s sublime tragic comedy offers boundless scope for directors, and Kasper Holten has chosen it to follow his directorial debut of Eugene Onegin. He wanted to shift the emphasis from Don Giovanni’s sex life into a darker place, showing Giovanni’s womanizing as an attempt to stave off his own mortality. Each woman he seduces represents a life he could have had. Though it is a dark piece, Holten handles it with a light touch and works with a superb cast – Mariusz Kwiecien, one of the world’s leading Don Giovannis, Alex Esposito, a fresh, vigorous Leporello and acclaimed French soprano Véronique Gens.
A red hot ticket at the Metropolitan Opera in 2010/2011 was Donizetti's comic gem, Don Pasquale, with Anna Netrebko reviving Norina, the part that made her a star in New York. Opera summed up the simple truth: ". . . everyone adored her". John Del Carlo's impressive singing and acting chops as the Don are given every boost by Otto Schenk's hilarious staging and James Levine's witty conducting. Leading this opera for the first time at the Met, the renowned maestro demonstrates that his gifts suit Donizetti as perfectly as Wagner. Mariusz Kwiecien and Matthew Polenzani scintillate as Malatesta and Ernesto. When Norina slaps Pasquale, the old man sees how deluded he has been to believe that the young beauty loves him. The San Francisco Chronicle paid homage to this turning point thus: "Netrebko captures the moment that gives the opera a heart it otherwise would lack" Filmed in November 2010, the DVD features backstage intermission interviews caught during the hubbub of performance.
Ludwig Minkus’s Don Quixote has held a place in the repertoire since its premiere at the Bolshoi Theater in 1869. The music is charming and well orchestrated, but persistently a little bland. There are plenty of melodies, but none of them are particularly distinctive. This is certainly not Tchaikovsky or Prokofiev. The poor boy meets rich girl love story interwoven with the fantastic adventures of Don Quixote has attracted the biggest names in ballet over the years, with Marius Petipa’s original classical production being followed by Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and George Balanchine. Now, it is Carlos Acosta’s turn. His choreography is based on Petipa, but he has modernized it with his trademark physicality, and some new unclassical sounds (clapping, vocal exclamations) from the corps de ballet on stage.
The cast for this Teatro Real de Madrid production is outstanding across the board. Figaro is the glue of any successful Barber— he moves the action ahead and the audience must look forward to his every appearance, vocally and dramatically. From the first bars of “Largo al factotum della città,” we know Pietro Spagnoli’s got the goods, with a satisfyingly solid and nimble baritone and a natural elegance to his movements on stage. Bruno Praticò is a prime basso buffo practitioner, impressively adept with the patter of Bartolo’s first act aria, his representation of the not-so-good Doctor suitably ridiculous, abetted by a Tweedledum/Tweedledee sort of costume. As Don Basilio, veteran Ruggero Raimondi exudes a perfect blend of decrepitude and cunning; if his voice is no longer as resplendent as it was 20 years ago, he still has a wonderful stage presence.