Monday, November 14, 2011

Don Giovanni at the Met

On Friday evening we had the pleasure of seeing the Metropolitan Opera's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni.  It had been about five years since I'd seen a Mozart opera at the Met (or anywhere else) and Don Giovanni had long been on my my list of must-see operas, so I happily bought two tickets for this production.  Our seats were in the dress circle, which not only gave us a great view of the stage but of the orchestra pit as well.  We could watch conductor Louis Langree as he led the singers and orchestras through this long masterpiece, and we could see the musicians come and go as needed.  The trumpeters only appeared a few minutes before they had notes to play, disappearing through a back door as soon as they were done.  The lone trombonist played at the beginning and the end. 

The sets weren't too elaborate, allowing the singers to be the show instead of the scenery.  The fire effects that shot out of the floor at the end, when the Commendatore condemns Don Giovanni to hell for his actions, could be felt all the way in the back of the hall.  It was a most impressive ending.  

The opera itself was outstanding.  Mariusz Kwiecien played the title character as a breezily dark lothario, not quite evil but unconcerned with the repercussions of his womanizing ways.  Luca Pisaroni's Leporello provided plenty of comic relief throughout, but especially in Act II when he pretended to be the Don and distracted Donna Elvira.  Speaking of which, Barbara Frittoli played Donna Elvira mostly for comedic effect, though her pain at her multiple betrayals by the Don was evident in her arias late in the opera.  I enjoyed this production so much that by the end my face was sore from smiling. 

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