Thursday, 13 February 2014

Opera ABC: Mozart Don Giovanni

Previous blog posts featured compositions by Mozart, including:
-Symphony no.40 played by Scottish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras
-Concert Aria: Ch’io mi scordi di te? Cecilia Bartoli, accompanied by András Schiff on the piano

This post features one of Mozart's great operas, Don Giovanni.

Mozart composed an unbelievable 22 operas in his 35 years. Many of these operas are part of the standard repertoire and are well worth knowing, including: Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute......I almost typed The Magic Fruit....that would make an interesting opera indeed?).

Don Giovanni is the tenth most performed opera according to website

My favourite recording is the recording by The Drottningholm Court Theatre Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Arnold Östman recorded in 1990.
The cast includes:
-Hakan Hagegard (Don Giovanni),
-Arleen Auger (Donna Anna),
-Nico van der Meel (Don Ottavio),
-Kristinn Sigmundsson (Il Commendatore),
-Della Jones (Donna Elvira),
-Gilles Cachemaille (Leporello),
-Bryn Terfel (Masetto) and
-Barbara Bonney (Zerlina).

The vocal performances are generally good but what makes this a particularly unique recording are the brisker speeds on period instruments. The orchestral playing is articulate and crisp as can be expected in a period performance. This recording is exciting and fun from beginning to end, with heightened drama being the result. This is probably as close to the original conception possible. Mozart himself would surely be pleased with this excellent recording.

Below is a YouTube video of the Commendatore scene:

Links to the recording:


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