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2011-03 Severance Hall, Cleveland, Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni

sk-Giovanni-Cleveland

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Librettist: Lorenzo da Ponte

Venue and Dates: Severence Hall, Cleveland

19, 22, 24, and 27 March 2011

Conductor: Franz Welser-Möst

Performers:
Don Giovanni : Simon Keenlyside

Leporello : Ruben Drole

Donna Anna : Eva Mei

Donna Elvira : Malin Hartelius

Ottavio : Shawn Mathey

Commendatore : Alfred Muff

Zerlina : Martina Janková

Masetto : Reinhard Mayr

The Mozart/Da Ponte cycle of operas fully staged at Severance Hall concludes as Franz Welser-Möst conducts Don Giovanni starring Simon Keenlyside on March 19, 22, 24, and 27, 2011. The production of Don Giovanni will be based on the Zurich Opera production directed by Sven-Eric Bechtolf. “He can switch from genteel seductiveness to physical threat in a moment, registering all the gradations in his wonderfully vital and well-focused singing,” wrote the Guardian of London reviewing a performance of Simon Keenlyside in Don Giovanni at Covent Garden . In a 2008 production at the Royal Opera House, the Guardian described Mr. Keenlyside as “a tour de force.” Mr. Keenlyside most recently appeared with the Orchestra during a Cleveland Orchestra Musikverein Residency in Vienna in the fall of 2009. The cast for Don Giovanni includes soprano Eva Mei (Donna Anna) in her Cleveland Orchestra debut, soprano Malin Hartelius (Donna Elvira), baritone Ruben Drole (Leporello), tenor Shawn Mathey (Don Ottavio) in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, soprano Martina Janková (Zerlina), baritone Reinhard Mayr (Masetto) in his Cleveland Orchestra debut, bass-baritone Alfred Muff (Commendatore), and the Cleveland Orchestra Opera Chorus. The opera will be performed in Italian, with English supertitles.

More information on http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/event-detail/2011-Mar-19.aspx?pid=8346

the last peformance 27.3.2011 will be broadcast live at 13h EST.

Click here to see more photos in youtube

Soundbites

Zachary Lewis, Plain Dealer, 21.3.2011

Cleveland Orchestra’s ‘Don Giovanni’ reveals a group and cast in peak form

Don Giovanni the character marks the depths of human depravity, but the Cleveland Orchestra’s “Don Giovanni” occupies the operatic stratosphere.

Especially the musical dimension. The Zurich Opera production by Sven-Eric Bechtolf contains flaws, but the efforts of the cast and orchestra Saturday under music director Franz Welser-Most were little short of heavenly, well worth the higher-than-usual price of admission.

By now, the Cleveland Orchestra is an expert Mozart opera ensemble. Not to discount its earlier work, but this third and final installment in its Da Ponte cycle reveals a group in peak form. The playing Saturday at Severance Hall was intimate, lyrical, and sharply responsive, capable of shifting instantly from aggression to pure sweetness.

The singers, too, live up to their international reputations. Every cast member possesses a voice of considerable power and allure, notably baritone Simon Keenlyside in the title role. No wonder Welser-Most involved so many in previous presentations and pulled most of those here from the original production.

That most of them have collaborated before also benefits this staging theatrically. Where some opera performers struggle to act, this crew inhabits roles completely and displays the comfort and mutual understanding of a repertory ensemble.

Their familiarity even adds a layer to a famous inside joke. When, in the finale, baritone Ruben Drole as Leporello detects an echo of “The Marriage of Figaro,” he recognizes it in part because he played Figaro in Cleveland.

Just as in that production, Drole is a star of “Giovanni,” a likable fellow with a broadly resonant voice to boot. Poised to injure him repeatedly are bass Reinhard Mayr as Masetto and tenor Shawn Mathey as Don Ottavio, both of whom invite empathy with convincing portrayals and voices.

Still, this “Giovanni” rests on Keenlyside’s shoulders, and it’s a burden he’s fully equipped to bear. Physically, he’s a commanding, athletic presence who fits the double bill of suave seducer and vicious fighter, and he boasts a versatile instrument equally capable of subtlety and ferocity. At Severance Hall, the audience is just another victim.

No less illustrious are the women. As Donna Anna, soprano Eva Mei credibly conveys sorrow and vengefulness while wielding a voice of tremendous force and virtuosity. Her counterpart is soprano Malin Hartelius, who brings nobility and complexity of feeling to Donna Elvira. By way of comic relief comes Martina Jankova, whose vivacious charm and nimble soprano makes for an irresistible Zerlina.

The only problem is the production. Of the three Bechtolf interpretations presented by the orchestra at Severance, “Don Giovanni” is perhaps the most elaborate. Unfortunately, it’s also awkward and conceptually confused at times.

Where it falls short most dramatically is in the finale. In lieu of an imposing statue, Bechtolf introduces an African carving and Voodoo priestess.

Their foreignness may be precisely the point, but the contrast verges on the silly, while the statue’s diminutive size saps its visual heft. Moreover, gifts from Giovanni to the people he has hurt are out of character from a man who treats everyone with cruel indifference.

On the positive side, the production is visually striking. The spare furniture, sleek costumes, and backward-receding set, framed in gold, are lovely, evoking the art deco period while affording multiple planes of action.

It’s also openly sensual. Dispensing with norms of modesty, Bechtolf allows his characters to strip, jump on and grab each other like the sexually charged creatures they are.

The choice to include Cleveland’s Verb Ballets amidst the Cleveland Orchestra Opera Chorus is also inspired. While the choreography contains anachronistic touches and the dancers’ precise function isn’t always clear, the combined companies nonetheless fill out the stage with lovely voices and beautifully poised figures.

Suzanne Toreey, Concertonet

Don Giovanni completes Cleveland’s triple bill of the Mozart/Da Ponte operas which began in 2009. The original Zurich Opera production was by Sven-Eric Bechtolf and was adapted for the dimensions of the stage here. Severance Hall was full and standing room packed when opening night began. The unconventional treatment may have disturbed some of the audience members with a few leaving during the first act and still more not returning after intermission. Rather tame by European standards, it’s still definitely not a traditional take on the old classic, with lingerie frequently on display and simulated sex acts on the strategically placed couches which filled the stage, but then again, it is about the penultimate playboy who collects women as souvenirs, going so far as to have his servant keep a list of his over 2000 conquests.

With apologies to the ladies in the cast, this show belonged to the men. Simon Keenlyside seems to have made a specialty of playing the depraved Lothario in recent years, but no matter where he is, he owns the stage. At age 51, in burgundy velvet jacket and tuxedo slacks, he is the personification of elegance and the sounds that pour from his throat are pure gold. The blazingly fast “Fin ch’ han dal vino” was perfection in diction with attitude to spare while his mandolin-accompanied serenade in Act 2, “Deh vieni alla finestra”, was so exquisitely lovely that the audience seemed to be holding its collective breath until the last notes floated away. He threw his entire body into the role, running about the stage on tiptoe, scuttling around the furniture on his bottom, generally trying to rein in his lascivious master, while feeling genuine pity for the women left in Don Giovanni’s wake, but not being above taking advantage of any opportunity passing his way. His comic aria, “Madamina, il catalogo è questo” was a bit of a disappointment , but not through any fault of Mr. Drole – there was just so much going on stage that the singing got swallowed up in the action.

This production takes Masetto, sung by Reinhard Mayer, above the range of typical country bumpkin to an aggressive, West Side Story-type gangster, smoldering with barely suppressed rage; we know that he will wait for the opportunity to take the Don down and that he won’t rest until his mission is accomplished. Shawn Mathey, Don Ottavio, has a beautiful lyric tenor voice, but had he a stronger stage presence, his lengthy arias and recitative would have been better served. Alfred Muff was suitably eery in the brief role of the Commendatore.

Unfortunately, the women didn’t fare as well. Martina Janková, the Zerlina for the run, was the best of the lot. Her innate sense of comedy took over and drew eyes to her each time she was on stage. A true soubrette, her voice was light and pretty but had a pitch problem on the first “Andiam” in “Là ci darem la mano”, her duet with Don Giovanni. The staging here had her singing, “Batti, batti o bel Masetto” to the audience rather than to her fiancé, not the only park-and-bark moment of the evening, since both of the other women were sacrificed to this staging method as well, while Don Ottavio was left to direct his arias towards Maestro Welser-Möst! Malin Hartelius has a lovely voice and an elegant demeanor on stage even when cast in the somewhat thankless role of Donna Elvira. She was quite convincing as she vacillated, caught between a need for revenge in response to her callous abandonment by Don Giovanni and her love for the scoundrel. It’s this deep and selfless love which gives us hope for his ultimate redemption – Leporello sees it right away, eventually, she reveals it to the others who call for nothing less than the Don’s demise – if someone can love the rogue that much, surely there must be some good in him? Unfortunately, her view of the man is colored by her feelings, and he cannot be what she wishes he was. In yet another piece of peculiar direction, when Elvira arrives and is raging at Giovanni, she claims that she is pregnant; this is never mentioned again, and, at the end, she states that she is entering a convent. Were we simply to forget the comment made three hours earlier? And, after being subjected to the history of Giovanni’s conquests just after arriving, Elvira wanders upstage to silently dress his latest lingerie clad date in her own clothing and wave her off. Is she saying “good-bye” to herself, wishing that she had left him as well? That she could make a semblance of order out of such random symbolism is a credit to Ms. Hartelius’ acting skills. The weak link in this cast was Eva Mei as Donna Anna. Her voice was small but shrill and tight, with no bottom and little support in the middle, which caused the listener to lose focus. During “Or sai chi l’onore” and “Non mi dir”, she had trouble being heard over the orchestra, which, to be honest, was not entirely Ms. Mei’s fault because Severance Hall was not built for opera and the orchestra pit is level with the floor. In the ensemble numbers her strident tone rose above and overwhelmed the other singers. Ideally, one would like to hear distinct intonation among the female voices in this opera, especially between Anna and Elvira; I was left wishing that there had been more attention paid to the overall “payoff” of the sound of the group within the allotted space.

A major puzzlement was the inclusion of the mute character of the “Caretaker”. Barefoot, dressed as a mystical voodoo priestess in a sleeveless white gown and turban, she first appeared during the murder of the Commendatore. Having silent interaction only with Donna Elvira, the woman later brought an African tribal statue on stage to represent the Commendatore’s graveyard image. There was no reference point for her, her actions, or her props within the production or in the libretto, and she served only to confuse. Maybe it was overlooked in the transfer from the Zurich house to here, but the effigy seriously blocked the sight lines during “Oh, statua gentilissima”, the cemetery duet between Giovanni and Leporello.

As usual, the orchestra was excellent, but at times drowned out the vocal line, particularly toward the end of the opera, when Leporello is serving dinner to his master and Donna Elvira enters to try to beg Don Giovanni to change his ways. Again, I believe this to be due primarily to the logistics of having the orchestra at floor level; the sound projected directly out into the house leaving little wiggle room for the dynamic nuances of voices. Maestro Welser-Möst led the orchestra with a deft hand and great enthusiasm, setting the tone for the evening during the overture.

The Art Deco sets, with squared-off, golden arches framing the stage in a series from front to back were gorgeous in their simplicity. The furniture was minimalist: squared off couches and ottomans in grey and an Art Deco bar, which served multiple functions. Golden, full length curtains moved across the stage from right to left on silent glides, dividing it in half, and allowing for the disappearance of the Commendatore’s body and Don Giovanni’s banishment into hell. The lighting was straightforward but effective and all of these elements combined well to make the stage very visually appealing. The costumes were separated from the sets by at least two decades. Relieving the black were splashes of color coming from Zerlina’s dress, Giovanni’s jackets, Leporello’s white and black striped trousers and the dresses of the female chorus members.

Don Giovanni is a grand undertaking and having an international star of the magnitude of Simon Keenlyside playing the title character is a major coup. The audience was highly appreciative and it is to be hoped that the tradition of bringing opera to this city will continue through the auspices of the Cleveland Orchestra.

Terry Ponick, The Washington Times, 1.4.2011

Your peripatetic reviewer just returned from Cleveland, Ohio, where that city’s much-vaunted orchestra concluded a short run of Mozart’s serio-comic classic opera, Don Giovanni. For the uninitiated, Don G is the Mozart-Da Ponte team’s retelling of the adventures of the legendary womanizer generally known to most Americans as Don Juan.

As with much of Mozart’s operatic oeuvre these days, performances of Don Giovanni, like those of Cosi fan tutte (They All Do It) and Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) are not exceptional in almost any town. They’re all old faves, and regularly pack in a good audience of paying customers—something critical in today’s performing arts environment, where opera companies and symphony ensembles continue to undergo unprecedented fiscal disasters and downsizing.

The city of Cleveland has had its problems as well, artistic and otherwise. Along with many of its Federally-indicted politicians, its local opera company may have sung its swan song this past fall. A combination of two earlier, failed companies, it’s out of money and there’s no sign that outfit is coming back to life.

The Cleveland Orchestra has had its own fiscal issues, but they’ve dodged the bullet thus far with an energetic combination of excellent community programs, a pair of traveling “residencies,” and not infrequent tours, particularly abroad where they’re very much in demand.

Their latest innovation has been staging an annual Mozart opera within the confines of the orchestra’s acoustically brilliant and marvelously-restored Severance Hall. The intriguing thing is that Severance was never really designed for opera. But, between staffers and current conductor-for-life Franz Welser-Möst, that hasn’t stopped the orchestra from mounting surprisingly successful productions.

Part of this may very well stem from the Maestro’s familiarity with and affinity for the German operatic repertoire. He currently also leads the Vienna State Opera Orchestra as well as the Cleveland, so opera is second nature for him. But what makes the orchestra’s current operatic venture particularly interesting is the fact that Cleveland’s lucky classical fans get to see and hear something that’s theoretically almost impossible: a world-class symphony orchestra accompanying an operatic production.

This isn’t to say that opera orchestras worldwide are second rate. The superb Metropolitan Opera Orchestra proves that point quite handily. But many opera companies, at least in this country, are increasingly strapped for funds, fielding the best orchestras they can under the circumstances: one size has to fit all.

Unlike the Met, most opera companies, like our own Washington National Opera, don’t perform nearly often enough to justify paying a full-time orchestra, so they must share a peripatetic band with other organizations.

Cleveland’s defunct opera companies were a case in point, with orchestra members doing opera when they could, and grabbing other gigs as available. The result was often competent playing but a lack of soul along with shallow attention to detail in sometimes unfamiliar repertoire.

Which gets us back to the Cleveland Orchestra’s Don Giovanni. Here we encountered something entirely different, a world-famous orchestra climbing off the stage and into a makeshift pit to accompany a Mozart opera.

From the days of the legendary George Szell—who himself conducted the Met after the Second World War—the Cleveland excelled in German repertoire. In their recently-concluded Giovanni, they got a chance to put the symphonic with the operatic in a kinetic, hugely entertaining production. Our only complaint: the orchestral sound was so good, and sometimes so big, that the production occasionally felt a bit more Wagner than Amadeus. But maybe that’s a problem more ensembles should have.

For this production, the Cleveland Orchestra imported semi-modernist sets from the Zurich Opera’s relatively recent production of Giovanni—one that Mr. Welser-Möst conducted with that company during his recently-ended tenure there. The stage conceit is that of an ongoing, modern-dress cocktail party, circa anywhere from 1920-1950, where movable furniture largely serves to delineate the scenes.

One interesting but curious aspect of the production was the use of dancers to pantomime certain actions in the background—actions apparently meant to provide some psychological insight into the action. In addition, the dancers, as well as a few of the leads, liked to disrobe at various points in the action. Nothing ever exceeded PG. And the Don was never known for his discretion.

But in the end, some of this stage biz proved somewhat distracting, though not disastrously so, probably yet another example of highfalutin’ Euro-minds probably trying to make Mozart meaningful and relevant for our own times. Secret: he already is, and doesn’t need any help.

Another curiosity of this production was the bizarre substitution of a smallish voodoo statue and a voodoo priestess for the “stone guest” who appears in the finale to cart the unrepentant Don off to the Hell he so richly deserves. It’s a clever idea on the face of it, but its sheer, discordant weirdness made no sense. Instead of the spectacular, fiery finale that we expect and that Mozart’s grim, relentless music summons, we get the Don rolling around on the ground in this production, seized, it seems, by a voodoo curse before he completely disappears.

We tend to be traditionalists and prefer an actual, not a metaphorical Hell in Giovanni. Worse, we’re not quite sure what our Swiss friends were getting at in the original. Even DC’s local budget-minded In Series, which produced an amusing, albeit truncated, re-imagining of Giovanni last month at the Atlas, was more imaginative and logical. They deployed young dancers from the Washington Ballet to swarm the stage clad as “Night of the Living Dead”-style zombies who carted the Don offstage to his doom. Yep, this was an “update” too, but it preserved the hellish spirit of the original in a way this Zurich production by Sven-Eric Bechtolf did not.

We’ll consign this to the “what were they thinking?” department. In the end, opera audiences show up for the music and the singing. That’s precisely what they got in this production and there’s little debating the point. The Cleveland, under Maestro Welser-Möst’s seasoned baton, gave them their money’s worth, working with a largely veteran cast, many of whom already had performed this production with him in Zurich.

Chief among them was the Don himself, astringently portrayed by dashing James Bond/Daniel Craig lookalike, British baritone Simon Keenlyside. With a rich, authoritative voice, a haughty manner, and a completely amoral approach to life and love, Keenlyside’s Don is almost like a cross between 007 and Auric Goldfinger—substituting female conquests for the precious metal, however.

Tension fairly crackled whenever Mr. Keenlyside appeared on stage. It’s the combination of coldness and passion that made his almost psychopathic Giovanni so intriguing and, in the end, so richly deserving of destruction and divine retribution.

Baritone Ruben Drole was Giovanni’s alter-ego in his portrayal of usually comical sidekick Leporello. Unlike many Leporellos, however, Drole’s version gets fed up with his master quite early in the game, tiring of being the fall guy in the Don’s increasingly dangerous intrigues. Although both singers were, obviously, baritones, Drole worked his role with a lighter touch, helping distinguish and define the dramatic differences between the characters.

Soprano Malin Hartelius navigated the mercurial, confusing character of Donna Elvira quite imaginatively, flitting from emotion to emotion, trying to decide whether she hated Giovanni or was willing to let him have another go. Possessing a rich, fluent, honeyed, and sophisticated instrument, Ms. Hartelius deployed her skills to their maximum extent, creating a character at once noble and tragic, yet silly, ephemeral, and foolish as well.

Soprano Eva Mei was her opposite as an icy, vengeful Donna Anna, slowly yet completely consumed by her vendetta toward the Don. She was softened somewhat by the ministrations of her sincere but indecisive fiancé, Don Ottavio . That role was sung by Shawn Mathey who proved to have one of the loveliest, most romantic tenor voices we’ve heard in quite some time. That his character was not entirely believable is due to a lapse in Da Ponte’s libretto, not his voice. Hopefully, he’ll be finding warmer love interests in other operas as this international opera season draws to a close.

In smaller roles, soprano Martina Janková sparkled as the easily-seduced Zerlina. Bass Reinhard Mayr glowered his way through a mini-buffo characterization of the Zerlina’s much put-upon fiancé/husband Masetto. And bass Alfred Muff bravely tackled the role of the Commendatore-turned-ghost in spite of the voodoo silliness of his return.

The orchestra, as we’ve come to expect, sounded fabulous given the subjective quibble we have with its size (for a Mozart opera) and the occasional flubs we noticed in the horns—the only aspect of this band that seems not quite up to the excellence of the earlier Szell-Maazel days. In short, Maestro Welser-Möst seems to be carrying on the Cleveland’s Germanic tradition quite well and we fail to see what much of the critical fussing has been about over the past few years in the Cleveland Plain Dealer—something we’ll have a bit more to say about in a future column.

It will be interesting to see if the Cleveland Orchestra decides to continue its pursuit of opera after this season, given that their recently-concluded Giovanni wrapped up its three-year Mozart excursion. Word is that Richard Strauss’ Salome will be performed next spring. The latest PR material we saw, however, isn’t clear as to whether this will be concert opera or fully staged, however, severed head and all.

In any event, if you’re going to keep opera alive in Cleveland, Ohio, this is certainly the way to do it: fine, experienced singers; a gorgeous, acoustically perfect performance space that’s surprisingly easy to adapt at least for smaller operas; and a pit-band that’s second to none in the world.

Cleveland’s housing situation and terminally corrupt machine politics remain dueling disasters of epic proportions, blighting the future of this once-upon-a-time great industrial city. Fortunately, the Cleveland Orchestra is still around to keep this still-decaying Rust Belt city—this critic’s former home—squarely on the world-class symphonic map. Let’s hope the locals continue to support them, helping them to emerge from our still-ongoing Great Recession intact and better than ever.

Alan Montgomery,Opera News, 19.3.2011

During February and March of this year, the Cleveland area was blessed with three productions of Mozart operas. The Cleveland Institute of Music led the way with La Finta Giardiniera, followed by Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s La Clemenza di Tito.Finally the Cleveland Orchestra took to the pit in Severance Hall to present Don Giovanni for a run of four fully-staged performances (seen Mar. 19). With Opera Cleveland currently on hiatus, Don Giovanni marked the welcome return of live opera in the city by a professional company. Franz Welser-Möst led a poetic performance, complete except for “Per queste tue manine,” the so-called “razor duet” composed for the Vienna premiere. Welser-Möst kept the balance between the stage and the shallow pit nearly ideal. He also encouraged cadential flourishes throughout. The recitatives were well paced, with pauses given dramatic lightness or weight as desired. And what a pleasure to hear the Cleveland Orchestra play this score!

Simon Keenlyside gave a stirring rendition of the Don in his first U.S. performance of the title role. His “Finch’han dal vino” was sung exceptionally well, and the serenade was given a hushed rendition. Rather than playing a manic satyr, Keenlyside made the Don into a man genuinely in love with his own hedonistic “quest” for women. Giovanni’s relationship with Leporello was more complicated than usual. Leporello, beautifully sung and acted by Ruben Drole, seemed to need the Don as a catalyst for his life to have meaning. The final scene had interplay between the two that was more good-natured than is frequently the case.

Eva Mei’s Donna Anna was sung with style and intensity. Her “Or sai chi l’onore” was well received, but “Non mi dir” was so well sung that it nearly stopped the show. Although Mei’s voice is somewhat lighter than is normally heard in the role, she managed to convince us she was perfectly cast. Malin Hartelius, Cleveland’s Donna Elvira, has a voice more in keeping with the norm for her character. Hartelius gracefully managed her many roulades. Her Elvira gradually changed from a lost, vindictive woman to one loyal and in love with the Don (though her loyalty was unappreciated).

Martina Janková was a spirited Zerlina. The partial striptease during her very well-sung “Vedrai carino” made clear what the character was really all about. Janková’s Zerlina started “Là ci darem la mano” as a girl shyly trying to stay clear of the Don and falling off the sofa in the process. At the end of the duet, she was more in charge than he was. Shawn Mathey, a slightly older, stuffed-shirt Ottavio, sang his arias with considerable ease, “Il mio tesoro” garnering especially appreciative applause.

Alfred Muff’s Commendatore and Reinhard Mayr’s Masetto were sung well but got lost a bit in the production concept by Sven-Eric Bechtolf (staged for Severance by Julia Mathes), which moved the action to the present day. The scenery by John S. Bukala (based on the Zurich production by Rolf Glittenberg) made quite effective use of blue sofas, chairs and footstools, with a bar, lamps and a few other pieces. The opening scene was not a darkened garden but a bright party in the home of the Commendatore, with guests frozen in dance poses. (The printed synopsis did not seem to know this.) The Don had managed to sneak off with Donna Anna. The look of this scene and the finale of Act I put one in mind of a Hugh Hefner party. Some of the guests at Giovanni’s house were definitely ready to go beyond just dancing. The concept was certainly good, but various details helped to confuse and perhaps even derail it. First and most conspicuously problematic was the presence of an African–American woman, who was dressed in a white dress and turban. She carried around an African statue. This eventually served as the statue at the foot of the Commendatore’s grave, and as the visitor (with Muff’s voice sounding out clearly, presumably from back stage). The head did not move, the presence of the statue in the final scene conveyed none of the terror of the Commendatore come to visit, and the presence of the woman was so anachronistic as to confuse more than a few operagoers. The possibility of “fire” being projected onto the golden grid was not used. The relationships between people (other than the Don to Leporello) was also tenuous. Don Ottavio seemed almost afraid to touch Donna Anna. While that may be his problem, it was still an unclear relationship. One other notable detail was bothersome. The orchestra musicians who made up the three orchestras were onstage. They played well. But the dancers performed a Charleston to the minuet, allowing the Contradanse and the Gigue to go by unnoticed — not what Mozart had in mind. The Don’s death, writhing in pain but otherwise going nowhere, was disappointing.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen March 26, 2011 at 2:04 am

The mics are for recording purposes, not amplification.

diana jones March 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Just had another look at the YouTube clip, and astonished to see that Simon and some of the others appear to be wearing mics! Why? Diana

Paola March 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Just watched the video on YouTube… looks and sounds great. Ruben Drole has amazing diction in the bit of the Catalogo aria and Simon does indeed sound very sweet in the (alas, too short) excerpt of the Serenata. Would have loved to hear his Champagne aria: it’s a real tongue-twister even for native speakers and a rendition with “perfect” diction by Simon would have been thrilling. Sorry to be going on and on about the language, I am Italian and particularly sensitive to the issue!

Jane March 24, 2011 at 8:14 am

Goodness me, yes, John, you are absolutely right. The paragraph does appear to have a bit missing, or else the writer had a sudden mental block…. I have only just looked at this today – how odd!

John "Bill" Palik March 24, 2011 at 3:46 am

The Concertonet review has some embarrassing mistakes. In the first paragraph, Don Giovanni is described as the “penultimate” playboy – why is he the next-to-last?? Penultimate has no other meaning than next-to-last… Then the next paragraph starts by describing SK’s Giovanni, but somewhere in the middle it is apparent we are hearing about Leporello instead – is part of the paragraph missing, or what?

Jane March 23, 2011 at 10:51 am

I love the last pic on here of Simon dancing – he looks as if he’s having a great time – ever the performer! Also looking forward to Sunday evening!
~ Jane

diana jones March 22, 2011 at 10:23 pm

Love the YouTube pics! Pity we couldn’t have heard more of Simon singing the Serenade – the bit we can hear sounds like the best I’ve ever heard him sing it! Can’t wait for Sunday’s live transmission!!

DK February 27, 2011 at 9:28 pm

The link to the clevelandorchestra.com isn’t working, but on the main website under “media releases” we are told that:

FREE CONCERT PREVIEW AND LIVE WEBCAST
In a special Concert Preview on Sunday, March 13, at 5 p.m. in Reinberger Chamber Hall at Severance Hall, Franz Welser-Möst will discuss Don Giovanni. The Preview is free, but reservations are required. The preview will be webcast live and available online prior to the performances.

See http://www.clevelandorchestra.com/news-and-media/news-releases/2011/Jan-18-Don-Giovanni.aspx

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