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The Met's Don Giovanni On PBS - No Fat Ladies Singing !

  The other night I caught the PBS telecast of the Met's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni (Don Juan ) , and enjoyed the performance very much . As usual, many of the critics  poured scorn on the staging, for this or that reason, the Met being damned if it does and damned if it doesn't as usual .  But it seemed to me like a perfectly good and straightforward production , refreshingly free from the Eurotrash gimmiclk concepts that are the bane of opera productions all over .

   It was also beatifully sung and expertly conducted by the Met's new principal conductor Fabio Luisi. But this is not the point of my post . My point is that this was in no way the kind of stereotypical opera production which is in the minds of so many people who know little or nothing about opera . The proverbial "fat lady" was not there at all . 

   The women singers, as well as the men, were all very good-looking and youthful in appearance , and their acting was perfectly natural and realistic . They were all believable people acting out a great story about Don Juan, a serial womanizer in 18th century Spain who makes Warren Beatty look like Rick Santorum ! 

   If a film about Don Juan to were to be made in our time, the casting director could not have found better-looking and more believable actors to play the roles of the wicked Don , his bumbling and reluctant servant Leporello ,  Donna Elvira , one of the countless women the Don has seduced ,  the innocent peasant girl Zerlina whom  he Don brazenly tries to seduce on her own wedding day , and the vengeful Dona Anna , whose father the Commendatore  had been killed by the Don defending her from  being ravished , and her nice but nebbishy betrothed Don Ottavio .

   In the chilling final scene , the ghost of the Commendatore comes to  the Don to make him a final offer - repent or  be swallowed by flames and sink into hell !  Of course, the Don is brazenly defiant, and  gets his comeuppance (or rather come-downance ).

   So if you think that opera is just about  fat people screaming at each other ridiculous costumes in some incomprehensible language, I urge you to check out the repeat on PBS on Sunday afternoon standard time this afternoon , or go to the Met's website for information about seeing theeproduction on the internet . It will also be coming out on DVD before long .  All formats have English subtitles . What are you waiting for ?

Posted: Feb 24 2012, 01:41 PM by the horn | with no comments
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