Search - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, William Shimell, Samuel Ramey :: Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, William Shimell, Samuel Ramey
Don Giovanni
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (30) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #3

The central facts of this brilliant performance are the conductor's vision and energy, expressed through a virtuoso orchestra and a cast carefully selected for theatrical as well as musical skills. The feeling of unrelenti...  more »

     
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The central facts of this brilliant performance are the conductor's vision and energy, expressed through a virtuoso orchestra and a cast carefully selected for theatrical as well as musical skills. The feeling of unrelenting pressure in the music seems to be an externalization of Don Giovanni's compulsions, which are only thinly veiled by his aristocratic manner and Mozart's mellifluous but intensely dramatic music. Riccardo Muti's tempos are often fast, but not so fast as to interfere with the fine nuances of dramatic expression in the orchestra and the singers, and he makes the gritty realities underlying the often smooth surface of the words and music intensely clear at every point. --Joe McLellan

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CD Reviews

Brilliant match of concept and execution
E. J. Van Sten | 09/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Muti's Don Giovanni emphasizes the drama at the expense of humour, and is one of the most succesful recordings in driving this point home. Every scene contributes to the feeling that there is only one possible outcome to the mess that the Don's got himself into. The thing works, primarily thanks to one of the most powerful death scenes on disc.

To me, Mozart's opera is able to sustain this treatment, but only just. The casting of this recording help tremendously. The spotlight is shared between Shimell, who sings a rough, violent Don, young-sounding but mature, and Ramey, a firm Leporello in it for the bounty and not buffo at all. The other singers are of less importance, but very fine nonetheless - Lopardo must rank as one of the best Ottavios ever and Rootering is a firm and dramatic statue. Muti is the real driving force, providing lots of energy without sounding driven for its own sake, as he tends to do in some Verdi.

The recording is on the reverberant side, which proves a particular liability to the chorus, the ladies and Ottavio. However, the singers are beautifully integrated with the orchestral sound, which yields particular wonders during the last act.

In short, get this recording while you can. If not the best, it surely belongs with the small group of great Don Giovannis on record."
Not bad, although not great
Lesley M. Schultz | Oakland, CA United States | 08/09/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I would have to agree with Rodrigo, who goes into much more technical detail than I could on what's wrong with the singer's performances and Muti's conducting. But surely, while not a recording for the connisseur, it's not a bad addition for anyone who wants an introduction to the opera itself. "Don Giovanni" is such a different work from all the rest of the operas that Mozart wrote; this would have to be considered also when trying to figure out how one would conduct it. This opera recording, which I listened to every single day for a whole year, has taught me so much about opera as an art form and singing as an art that I am forever indebted to all the musicians, singers and the conductor. No, it isn't perfect or even great but Shimell isn't bad, Ramey is terrific, Studer and Vaness sound just fine and Lopardo really does a beautiful rendition of "Dalla sua pace." I still get shivers down my spine when I hear it, it's so beautiful. I don't expect opera to be perfectly beautiful and sublime all the time, and sometimes we can learn more from a medicore recording than from a great one. I would recommend it as a learning tool, even if it isn't the most beautiful performance I've ever heard. Ease up, Rodrigo, even Pav has bad days and both Mozart and Verdi wrote some clunkers in their day."
Opera at its best
Lesley M. Schultz | 10/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"An opera should be a perfect mixture of music, acting and words. If you want to listen to one of the best recordings of an "opera without images", since this is a CD and not a DVD, you should listen to this masterpiece. Don Giovanni became one of my three favorite operas (Don Giovanni, Carmen and Queen of Spades) thanks to this recording conducted by Maestro Mutti, one of the best opera conductors in the world."