October 08, 2004

Wipe Drool Off Keyboard

Terry Teachout has a review of a production of Don Giovanni he saw recently in Chicago. Another pleasant example of a producer who gets it:

Peter Stein's approach is different. “All the drama, all the theater, lies in the music,” Stein says of Don Giovanni, and so he’s produced the opera without any obtrusive conceptual overlay, placing his singers in the midst of Ferdinand Wögerbauer’s startlingly plain sets and directing them with the self-effacing clarity and simplicity of actors in a naturalistically staged play.

Drama and theatre lying in the music? What a concept!

As a general rule, I don't particularly like opera. Actually, it would be more accurate to say I don't like modern opera, starting with the 19th Century. But I do love Mozart's Big Three: Don Giovanni, Le Nozze di Figaro and Cosi fan Tutte. My favorite among these three is whichever one I happen to be listening to at the time.

I note that Bryn Terfel sings the lead in Chicago. I saw him in a Met production on PBS a couple years back and was rather disappointed. Not with his singing, which is always superb, but because I thought he was miscast and misdirected. The Don is a seducer - Terfel just looked (and acted) like a lout. You can see him here and judge for yourself, at least on the surface, as to how he looks this time around.

As a matter of fact, Terfel was pretty much born for the roll of Figaro. I've got a videotape of a performance of his in Le Nozze with this lot. The video has some poor production values, but the singing is terrific.

Posted by Robert at October 8, 2004 02:00 PM | TrackBack
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