Salzburg Festival: Don Giovanni

[no certificate]

Austria 2012, 177 mins

Claus Guth's direction takes Don Giovanni out of its traditional squares and palaces and into the wild woods, where animals live, mystery lurks, and the notorious ladies' man seeks shelter.

In Guth's almost cinematic production, every character appears to be seeking either salvation or damnation. With a physique as striking as his full-bodied baritone voice, Christopher Maltman embodies Don Giovanni as an almost reluctant seducer, a man fated to bring misery to women - and ultimately to himself.

Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott gives a riveting performance as a Leporello who is no bumbling sidekick or nobleman's scapegoat, but his master's worthy companion on the road to perdition.

Dorothea Röschmann as Donna Elvira gives a heart-stopping account of rage, passion and love in her arias, while Matthew Polenzani's Don Ottavio has nothing in common with the traditionally sweet but boring characterisation of the eternal fiancé.

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