Cheers for semi-staged Don Giovanni in Salzburg – Culture –
A large scenic production was not possible at this year’s Mozart Week, but Mozart Week boss Rolando Villazon did not want to do without action entirely. He therefore organized a semi-staged performance of “Don Giovanni” in the Felsenreitschule on Friday evening.
With more than three and a half hours of pure playing time, Mozart’s work, often referred to as the “opera of all operas”, could do with a bit of movement, which Villazon recommended to his singers and conductor Andras Schiff. To do this, he placed the Capella Andrea Barca in the middle of the stage between two house facades, between which the protagonists then walked back and forth with the support of a few props. Not a bad idea so far, but the first questions arose as soon as you saw the costumes. While Johannes Kammler, for example, appeared obediently in a black suit with hat and cape, Maurizio Muraro had apparently been dug far back in the costume archives and the bass was the only one put in a frock coat and tricorne hat. Perhaps this was also a reminiscence of Joseph Losey’s 1979 film adaptation of the story. In any case, Muraro showed his fate and sang an old-school Leporello, which at least temporarily gave him the upper hand vocally over his master.
Andras Schiff was also involved in all the hustle and bustle on stage, who was also not safe from one or the other performance and, for example, had to lend Leporello his fingers to count in the register aria. With all the fuss, he occasionally lost his attention to his singer, which meant that Magdalena Kozena as Donna Elvira had to sing her solo aria in the second act on her own. At least this gave the soprano the opportunity to show that she is still a very good Mozart singer. Another strong woman was Julia Lezhneva, who was actually only visually the young, fragile Zerlina in a floor-length glitter dress. Her clear soprano with amazing foundation could just as well have let her be the Donna Anna, who at times pushes Sylvia Schwartz to the limits of what is possible. Her fiancé Don Ottavio, on the other hand, was completely different, as Julian Pregardian put himself at the head of the ensemble with lots of color and technical finesse. Overall, Julien van Mellaerts was well cast as Masetto.
In addition to the mishmash of clothes, costumes and voices, a few directing ideas helped to create unconscious comedy. The Commendatore, the only authority that can finally bring down the evil womanizer, lost his authority. First Robert Holl had to attack Don Giovanni’s cloak armed with a knife like a bull in a duel with Don Giovanni, after the deadly stab he first collapsed helplessly, only to rise again from the dead and shuffle after the chorus in the cemetery scene stand behind a bust and slide this left and right. Vocally, too, he lacked the power to give the role the necessary uncanny and powerful quality.
Semi-scenic or: not fish, not meat. The idea of giving “Don Giovanni” and its lengths some dynamics was undoubtedly a laudable one, but Villazon’s implementation was not always comprehensible. It is gratifying that the director of the Mozart Week already announced when announcing his contract extension that real scenic productions will again be part of the festival in the coming years. Until then, the audience was more than satisfied with the semi-staged performance and gave big applause for all occasions.
(SERVICE – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni. Conductor and continuo: Andras Schiff, Capella Andrea Barca, Bachchor Salzburg, scenic design: Rolando Villazon, Don Giovanni: Johannes Kammler, Il Commendatore: Robert Holl, Donna Anna: Sylvia Schwartz, Don Ottavio : Julian Pregardien, Donna Elvira: Magdalena Kozena, Leporello: Maurizio Muraro, Masetto: Julien van Mellaerts, Zerlina: Julia Lezhneva. Another performance on January 29. www. )