Mozart: Don Giovanni / Tagliavini, Schrott, Haenchen, Royal Opera House
Stage director Kasper Holten’s 2014 production of Don Giovanni for the Royal Opera offers a glimpse inside the mind of one of opera’s most notorious seducers. With a spectacular revolving set by award-winning designer Es Devlin, ingenious video projections by Luke Halls, and an ‘ideal cast on world beating form’ (The Independent), this staging brings Mozart’s dazzling score to life, in all its wit, glamour, and darkness. With Roberto Tagliavini’s Leporello and Erwin Schrott’s Giovanni, we get a definitive pairing.
I saw this production’s first run in 2014 and its first revival, though not this 2019 third revival. It is a very fine production, Kasper Holten’s best achievement of his time at the Royal Opera House, and the filming does it justice.
Erwin Schrott gives a very fine performance as Don Giovanni, especially in relation to Leporello – oddly enough the key relationship in this opera of weak, imagined and imperilled relationships. Louise Alder as Zerlina gives us the most beautiful female singing in this performance. Daniel Behle’s Ottavio sings with particularly good line and tone in his tenderly lyrical music. Because this is the familiar mix of the Prague and Vienna versions, he gets both his Prague original solo and the Viennese one designed to replace it. Petros Magoulas’s Commendatore is vocally commanding when alive and even more so when dead.
Hartmut Haenchen’s old-school conducting, with broad tempi and plenty of weight, suits the conception of a demonic and doomed Don. The set blackens as dark forces gradually summon him to the infernal reckoning which he challenges to the last. This is essentially how the 19th century saw the opera, and to that end Holten jettisons much of the scena ultima, the buffo ending when the survivors tell us what they each will do next and point the moral of the tale.
The extras are a diverting couple of short films, one of the director, conductor, designer and cast talking about the work and its setting, and one of Erwin Schrott preparing the title role.
--MusicWeb International (Roy Westbrook)
Release Date: February 25, 2022
Catalog Number: OA 1344D
Label: Opus Arte
Number of Discs: 1
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Mozart
Conductor: Hartmut Haenchen
Orchestra/Ensemble: The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Royal Opera Chorus
Performer: Roberto Tagliavini, Erwin Schrott