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Thread: Random musings on Don Giovanni

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    Default Random musings on Don Giovanni

    The other night, mostly on a whim, I grabbed my Don Giovanni, the very good 2000 Met recording w. Bryn Terfel as Don, Furlanetto as Leporello, the production directed by Zeffirelli.

    Now I'm not arguing this as the best ever. I've only seen 2 others so I can't judge. Just that the singing and orchestra were sharp and crisp and immediate, the staging was also up-front and not ponderous.

    It's a very enjoyable show, overall. Some may say that Terfel was too much wallowing in the character and at times I got this impression but after all, it's a genuine comic opera during which lots of silly things occur and nobody thinks it unusual. Where the famously amorous Don manages to.... hold a woman's hands, that's all?

    Anyway, I enjoy this version, as it seems to understand the parody onstage and run with it.

    One more thought... have you ever wondered about people whose only prior exposure to a Mozart opera came from the movie Amadeus, and then actually saw, oh, Giovanni or Nozze?

    I mean, from the cranky and nutty ending of Giovanni shown in the movie, being totally unlike the actual opera? Ha.

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    Senior Member Posie's Avatar
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    I am a huge fan of Bryn Terfel, but there is just something over-the-top icky about his Don G.

    Amadeus actually turned me off of Don Giovanni for a long time. I had known the plot and had heard a couple of pieces, but then saw the "performance" of the ending in the film and thought "Was that the best they could do?" And then there was that ridiculous interpretation from Salieri to advance movie's plot. *shudder*

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    That's what got me into opera. I saw through the Seraglio bits one night and ran out and bought a recording. The rest is history.

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    Senior Member MagneticGhost's Avatar
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    I was so struck by the power of the Don Giovanni clip when I saw Amadeus that I went and bought the whole opera. Never looked back
    “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

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    My random musings on Don Giovanni:

    I always wonder what exactly does the situation for Zerlina looks like when she screams at the party. Don Giovanni forced her to go with him outside the ballroom and she was silent, she knew what's going on but still. Then she suddenly screams.

    So I got the picture that she wants to go with him and opposes just for pretense, then he draggs her to some chamber and pull his pants down and she sees his tool and is frightened by it because it's so very large and at this moment she screams UOO SCELLERATO!!!!

    Thank you for reading, hope I enriched your vision of Mozart's masterpiece
    Last edited by Aramis; Dec-04-2013 at 16:27.

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    ^ maybe she screamed because he took her to his bedroom and she saw his teddy bear collection?

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    Senior Member Jobis's Avatar
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    I liked the staging they did in Amadeus, the thundering footsteps were a fun addition.

    I don't think there's any reason to get snobby about how someone discovered opera, I think my first introduction to Don G. probably was Amadeus, but I don't feel ashamed about that.

    Not that I accuse anyone on this forum of snobbery

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    Senior Member GioCar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    ....I mean, from the cranky and nutty ending of Giovanni shown in the movie, being totally unlike the actual opera? Ha.
    Of course the Don Giovanni production in the movie (Amadeus) is far from being the best, but actually it reflects the production made in Vienna after the premiere in Prague. The final scene, ending with the ensemble "questo è il fin di chi fa mal", was omitted for the first performance in Vienna (1788). That performance actually ended with Don Giovanni sinking into the earth/hell. This was a common practice till mid of the 20th century. Gustav Mahler, when conducting at the Vienna Opera House, folllowed that practice as well.

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    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
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    I haven't seen that film since it came out. Is it worth revisiting? After watching a clip on youtube, I think I know why Hulce's acting career didn't blossom.
    This space for rent.

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    Senior Member Jobis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couac Addict View Post
    I haven't seen that film since it came out. Is it worth revisiting? After watching a clip on youtube, I think I know why Hulce's acting career didn't blossom.
    I'd give it a 9 out of 10 since its just so well made, of course you'll be disappointed if you expect it to be in the least bit factual, but its not trying to be a biography.

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    "Amadeus" is flawed as are most bio films but the music is terrific, and of course F. Murray Abraham's performance as Salieri was astounding.

    One of the most irritating errors in the film for me wasn't about Mozart but Emperor Franz Josef II, Mozart's main patron and friend. He's shown as an affable dunce and that's totally wrong. FJ2 was a brilliant man, highly educated by his mother (father FJ1 died when 2 was just a kid), and he was personally responsible for many social advances in Austria that prevented riots and possible revolution, remember this was during the American and French revolutionary times. A true egalitarian monarch who tried to rule for the best. And often went in the face of the aristocracy to support the new middle class.

    But the music shown by him was also wrong, that he was not aware of his musical limits. He loved music and his court composers and was a decent amateur pianist, amateur composer, and knew full well his limits. Still, he loved to "sit in" on concert pieces where the composers would write intentionally scaled-down parts for him to play. And mostly, of course, he'd just be a big fan and patron in the audience. At no time did he consider himself anything but an enthusiastic amateur performer.

    And the supposed criticism of Mozart, "too many notes" is often misunderstood. The full quote was "Too many notes, my dear Mozart --- for the Italians?" (teasing the Italian contingent of composers at court).

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    Senior Member Couac Addict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katdad View Post
    "Amadeus" is flawed as are most bio films but the music is terrific, and of course F. Murray Abraham's performance as Salieri was astounding.

    One of the most irritating errors in the film for me wasn't about Mozart but Emperor Franz Josef II, Mozart's main patron and friend. He's shown as an affable dunce and that's totally wrong. FJ2 was a brilliant man, highly educated by his mother (father FJ1 died when 2 was just a kid), and he was personally responsible for many social advances in Austria that prevented riots and possible revolution, remember this was during the American and French revolutionary times. A true egalitarian monarch who tried to rule for the best. And often went in the face of the aristocracy to support the new middle class.

    But the music shown by him was also wrong, that he was not aware of his musical limits. He loved music and his court composers and was a decent amateur pianist, amateur composer, and knew full well his limits. Still, he loved to "sit in" on concert pieces where the composers would write intentionally scaled-down parts for him to play. And mostly, of course, he'd just be a big fan and patron in the audience. At no time did he consider himself anything but an enthusiastic amateur performer.

    And the supposed criticism of Mozart, "too many notes" is often misunderstood. The full quote was "Too many notes, my dear Mozart --- for the Italians?" (teasing the Italian contingent of composers at court).
    Too right but what you've just described would make a boring Hollywood flick... unless there's a twist at the end where Mozart discovers the truth about Soylent Green.
    This space for rent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Couac Addict View Post
    Too right but what you've just described would make a boring Hollywood flick... unless there's a twist at the end where Mozart discovers the truth about Soylent Green.
    Mozart operas is people. Mozart operas are made with people.
    "No preluding! Piano pianissimo -- then all will be well." (Posted in the orchestra pit on August 13, 1876)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revenant View Post
    Mozart operas is people. Mozart operas are made with people.
    Well said, comrade, it shows the demise of spoiled elitist, Don Giovanni, who ends his days rightly persecuted by working class he opressed.
    Last edited by Aramis; Dec-07-2013 at 16:09.

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    ^ he didn't say all characters in Mozart operas are equally important...

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