Each time I encounter this wonderful piece in a new interpretation I am caught by surprise how little I seem to have known about it before and how endless the riches are to be found in Lorenzo da Ponte's libretto and Mozart's wonderful score. Don Giovanni is one of the very fews operas I wouldn't be able to recommend one reference recording for. The more recordings of the piece you can get to know and the more different stagings you can see the better. There always is something new to be found.
Yesterday's opening here in Aix was yet another one of these wonderful encounters. Ever since I saw a DVD of his staging of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin a few years ago I have considered Dmitri Tcherniakov a genius director. His production has been shown all over the world, from the Bolshoi to Paris and La Scala. It has been released commercially and is the modern reference now. If you love Tchaikovsky's opera you have to see it. I believe his new production of Don Giovanni (which the COC has co-produced with the Festival in Aix-en-Provence, the Teatro Real in Madrid and the Bolshoi in Moscow) is of similar importance and, in a few years from now, will be considered a milestone in the interpretation of Mozart/da Ponte's "opera of operas" (as Wagner called it). How Tcherniakov reads the piece and explores the questions "Who is Don Giovanni, what is his relationship with the other characters in the opera, why does he have so much power over them, why does he fail in the end?" reveals the piece's subtexts and the characters' true feelings in a truly remarkable way. There were moments throughout the performance when I thought "This is so right, why have I never thought of this before?". But Tcherniakov not only is an intelligent reader and interpreter, he also is a brilliant craftsman, a director who gets the most intense performances from his cast of outstanding singing actors. Visceral theatricality combined with a highly intelligent reading of the opera makes this production so unforgettable for me. I am proud that we will be able to bring this production to Toronto in a few years from now.
Posted by Alexander Neef / in Travel / comments (0) / permalink
The performances of Don Giovanni and Alceste take place in the courtyard.
... another venue of the Festival where I am about to see the dress rehearsal of Oscar Strasnoy's Un Retour, this year's world premiere.
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