Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Are you ready for la bellezza scaligera?!!

I am just too busy to blog and there would be many things to blog about: Rusalka and Wozzeck from Basel (great!), a few superb shows from Berlin, a couple of excellent concerts from Paris, great Alcina from Dresden...  I will NOT blog about the tragically bad new productions from Paris, such as Faust or/and La Forza del destino.

BUT, tonite is the night of La Prima della Prima: Don Giovanni from La Scala. I was told it was not inventive (after Calixto Bieito, Martin Kusej, and Dmitri Tcherniakov it is hard to keep up the quality level) but Robert Carsen shows are always intelligent and pleasant to see. Plus a superb cast will make us forget one of the biggest let-downs in recent years -- the live broadcast of Don Giovanni from The Met.

Tonight's cast should be great: beside our faves, Peter Mattei, Anna Netrebko, Kwangchul Youn, we will enjoy the wonderful Anna Prohaska, Bryn Terfel, Barbara Frittoli, Giuseppe Filianoti. Daniel Barenboim will conduct.

Arte @ 20:15 et on ouvre une boutelle de Chinon  (my new fave French wine)
Radio live broadcast here

Edit: I am speechless: 2400 €/seat for la prima of Don Giovanni! Mann


Boy do I love this opera!!!

Peter the Great

Apparently the Loggionisti  are ready to boo two singers on the curtain calls tonight (just heard on the Rai radio -- no name was mentioned)! Tradition oblige... I guess?!

EXCELLENT Leporello!

Weirdly enraged Masetto...

Always beautifully singing Anna Prohaska -- I wonder if she has enough power to fill up La Scala...

Donna Netrebko and Don Filianoti
Filianoti has become a great actor. Spontaneous and remarkable in every sense of the word -- although this role is not exactly fitting his voice.

HUGE Or sai chi l'onore! Anna Netrebko!

Anna Великая Netrebko! -- Or sai chi l'onore to remember

Peter's effortless wonderful singing -- a real treat!

Anna dominates... She deserves every bit of the global praise she receives... and more!

Pleasant show so far, with the party scene cleverly staged. I guess the constraint of having to please the La Scala crowd weighed quite a bit in what Carsen did here.  Zero risk, no audacity, rehashing his old formulas... that invariably work with crowd

Or sai chi l'onore to keep for future generations...


And just when Barenboim was about to start Act-2, the crowd was finishing clapping, and someone objected "Lento!"  What standard does he have in mind?! Even if it was slow, how uncouth do you have to be to say that out loud at that very moment?!

Donna Elvira Frittoli
This is where the innate musicality makes difference...

It seems like Filianoti might the one to soak a pile of boos from la loggione tonight...

Ah mio tesoro -- this is definitely not a role for you

Mi tradì quell'alma ingrata... - Brava Barbara!

LOL @ Carsen: Il commendatore is singing from the presidential box -- right between Napolitano and Mario Monti! Ha

Left upper angle is a mirror reflection of Commendatore who sings omenously from the prez box


Brilliant duo!

Yes, the game with mirrors help helps Carsen emphasizing his usual statement: theater is life, and life is theater. Warlikowski was the first to play with that as far as I know -- Just saying! ;)

Donna Elvira joins in for a meal...

Always great - Kwangchul Youn... You noticed maestro's hand, didn't you?!

I liked Claus Guth Don Giovanni for its numerous qualities, including the fact that the epilogue was cut off.  To me this is simply redundant. What's the point?! To moralize? To make sure everyone gets the story the "right way"?! The show would be more efficient without it... BUT Carsen cleverly steps in and makes the final twist... and saves his show ;)

Ovations for Frittoli, and especially for Anna Netrebko (flower showered), Peter Mattei and Bryn Terfel.

Only a few boos for Carsen and I don't understand why for such a tamed (yet pleasant) show... None of the singers was booed. Good!

Second show and a much better night for Filianoti


  1. I am planning to go to Don G. at the Bastille in April. Can you recommend the production? Petibon & Gens will be an interesting combination.

    I miss your regular blogs. Do you tweet?

  2. Thanks John! Just being too busy! Next week will be hellish too, but then I'll be hopefully cool and back to blogging again.
    I have several files that never made it to the blog entries: Les Huguenots, Pape as Wotan in Berlin, Alcina, Der bizarre Freischutz, Alcina... that I should put in before the end of the year.

    YES yes, that Don Giovanni in Paris should be great. The production is excellent. The cast is promising too. My only worry is Petibon singing Donna Anna in the huge hall at Bastille, but in any case it should be good. Most of the revivals at the Paris Opera are very well done. It's the new productions that suck -- big time.


  3. I just watched some trailers of this new DG. Does DG say "The Hell with you!" to the whole gang who condemns him and gets sent to the hell instead? If so, haha, quite clever indeed.

  4. It is that and a fact that Carsen always insists on the correlation life <--> theater, thus the mirrors, this the stage on the stage.

    The ending fits Carsen's way of seeing this opera: it is all about Don Giovanni. The other characters exist because-of/for Don Giovanni.
    Good, bad, egocentric... it's him. Even at the very end it is all about him. It's him who smokes the last cigarette ;)

    I especially liked the second-hand irony: Il commendatore sings from the presidential box. It is him who's financing [cutting the budget to] the theater.

    Carsen is always good, except that after a while his style gets too predictable. If you get to see his Les Contes d'Hoffmann (available on DVD) it is the show that he took a lot from while creating this production of Don Giovanni, and it is absolutely brilliant.