Saturday, October 15, 2011

NY Times Review of Met's Don Giovanni: "Reckless in Seduction, if Not Onstage"

Peter Mattei (L) & Luca Pisaroni (R)
Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

New York Times critic Anthony Tommasi has written a review of the new Metropolitan Opera production of "Don Giovanni." Readers are well aware that this production was plagued by the last-minute injury of Mariusz Kwiecien, who New Yorkers had eagerly anticipated performing the role for the first time on the Met stage. Tommasini's review focuses a lot on Michael Grandage's production, which appears to suffer from many of the criticisms that beset his "Billy Budd" at Glyndebourne, which is an overly conservative and cautious portrayal of the opera. Much of the criticism's of Grandage's "Billy Budd" was that he stripped the sexual tension from the opera. We'll be curious if this Giovanni is different when Kwiecien, who along with Randal Turner is known as one of the most sexually charged Giovanni's, returns to the cast. [FYI: The Barihunks crew is attending the October 25 performance when Kwiecien returns].

Joélle Harvey as Zerlina and Kelly Markgraf as Masetto; Jason Hardy as Leporello and Daniel Okulitch as Don Giovanni NYCO's Sexy and Vivid Don Giovanni (Photo by © Carol Rosegg)

Tommasini points out that this production paled in comparison to the "vivid" and "sexy" Christopher Alden production that the New York City Opera produced in 2009. We were unabashedly enthusiastic about the City Opera's "Giovanni," which we thought was one of the best ever produced. With City Opera slowly rising from the ashes, it will be nice to see some renewed competition in the Big Apple.

However, he did single out and praise the performances of the singers. Here is what he wrote about the barihunks.

[Mattei] was superb, singing alternately with suave, seductive phrasing and menacing intensity. At 6-foot-4, he was lordly, cagey, heady with desire and glibly reckless.

The bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni was a dynamic Leporello, singing with a muscular voice, rich colorings and agility. Handsome and full of bluster, this youthful Leporello exuded resentment while bowing to his master’s commands. But for the accident of birth, Mr. Pisaroni’s Leporello would be the nobleman and lady-killer. And there was some intriguing sexual tension in Giovanni’s roughhousing with his servant. 
You can read Tommasini's entire review at the New York Times online site.

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1 comment:

  1. do you know tomorrow is the birthday of undoubtedly one of the best and handsomest opera baritones? time to change your baritone birthday picture comes soon:)