Magazine article Opera Canada

Don Giovanni

Magazine article Opera Canada

Don Giovanni

Article excerpt

DON GIOVANNI

MOZART

Sony Classical: 531603

Anyone debating purchase of this new Don Giovanni might do well to avoid Sony's promo video, in which conductor Teodor Currentzis, peacocky in gold-brocaded black, conducts his MusicAeterna musicians with ecstatically rolled dark eyes and swoopingly emotive gesticulation, and makes, in interview, such grand pronouncements as "We are here because we want to create the music we want to create" and "My desire was to create a world, not a career." The "here" and the "world" are located in Perm (specifically, its Tchaikovsky State Opera and Ballet Theatre), a site sufficiently removed from "the centers of the massive [sic] culture" to allow full immersion in the musical matters at hand.But whatever skepticism his grandiosity may engender, Currentzis gets results, and they're excitingly audible on these CDs, the third of his series of Mozart's da Ponte operas.

MusicAeterna's period players are alertly under his spell, responding with sounds alternately pungent and suave. You can hear both in the accompaniment to Kenneth Tarver's "II mio tesoro," as finely sung as his Act I "Dalla sua pace," with its airily embellished second verse--a statement that hints at two characteristics of Currentzis's Don: it's a more-than-complete hybrid version, with all Mozart's Vienna variants blended in to the Prague original, and it's chockablock with appoggiature and other ornamentation, all of it, to my mind, stylish and effective. Listen, for example, to the recitative to Karina Gauvin's exemplary "Mi tradi," its shifts of mood enhanced by the ample decoration; listen, too, to the pointedly active fortepiano throughout. …

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