Don Giovanni in Vienna - Schrott/Kurzak/Gens - 08.08.2009

......Vienna - always beautiful. I've been here several times. 6 or 7. But it's one of my favorite cities. Not only because of the rich cultural life. There's something in the air. Here everybody is polite, the city isn't crowded, it's different from everything else.
......I had two full days to wonder on the streets. The Ring, the Parliament, Musikverein, Staatsoper, Stefansdom, Mozart, Strauss, Hofburg... told me their story again. This was another cultural weekend. We came here to see Mr Schortt in Don Giovanni at Theatre an der Wien.

......I'll introduce you a little bit in the atmosphere. Come with me...

......Get closer to the opera house. Admire it. It's big and beautiful. This time only on the outside. The season is over. If you want, take a look at the CD in Arcadia. You don't know what that is? I won't tell you. Consider this a homework. Move on and you'll get to the backstage door of the Opera House. Oh, how many beautiful memories. It's here a saw.... somebody for the first time in person. Go on. The last poster on the wall announced that a lot of the productions will be broadcasted live in the square next season (September and October). Lucky Vienesses! A few more steps. We're almost there. You have in front of you the Sacher Hotel, one of the most famous hotels in Vienna. Famous for the people it accommodated but more important, famous for the cake. Go around the corner and you'll find Mozart Cafe.

......Sit down now. The waiter will come to you in a couple of seconds. Don't know what to order? It's easy. Try a Mozart coffee and a Sachertorte. It's only made here, in Vienna, and also in Salzburg. Don't rush. Enjoy it. It's delicious. Imagine that people 100 years ago were staying here eating the same thing maybe before going to the opera. Which is what you're going to do in a couple of hours.

......One hour before Don Giovanni. I know, I know your patience is almost over, but still, you're going to Theatre an der Wien for the first time. Some hints. It was built 200 years ago and it was the home of the Staatsoper during the World War II. And Beethoven actually lived in rooms inside the theater, at Schikaneder's invitation, during part of the period of composition of Fidelio, which was premiered here in 1805. No wonder that his star is in front of the Theatre.

Mozart's star is also here. Don't look for it downtown.

...... Now, I think you know enough things about this Theatre to get inside. It's not very big. And because of this everything seems more intimate. The stage is closer, the voices can be heard better than in large halls. You can read Hoelle on the curtain. It's "Hell", in English. A clear suggestion for the end of this opera.

Don Giovanni
Dramma giocoso in two acts, KV 527 (1787)
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libreto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Performed in Italian with German surtitles
Revival with Musical Re-Production
Premiere: Saturday, 01.08.2009 - 19:00 Uhr

Conductor Riccardo Frizza
Director Keith Warner
Set design and costumes Es Devlin
Light design Wolfgang Göbbel

Don Giovanni Erwin Schrott
Leporello Hanno Müller-Brachmann
Donna Anna Aleksandra Kurzak
Don Ottavio Bernard Richter
Komtur Attila Jun
Donna Elvira Véronique Gens
Masetto Markus Butter
Zerlina Nina Bernsteiner
Orchestra ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien
Chorus Arnold Schoenberg Chor

.....This opera is not easy to listen. Mozart is different. And in my opinion the direction is very important. What I saw here was the best modern production I've seen so far. I'm not saying this because Erwin was there. It's about the idea/sets/costumes/movement on stage/communication/emotions... and above all these, the voices.
......The plot is set in modern times. It's a hotel, with lobby, rooms, elevators, ball room, maids, bell boy, everything. They're all accommodated in this hotel. And everything is so well prepared that you pay attention throughout all the play without being bored in any way. Even if you already know what happens, you're still being curious how the things will go on.

Images from the last act. Don Giovanni is doomed.

...... I was speechless. Who was better on the stage? Hard to say. Erwin Schrott has a deep voice. When he sung La ci darem la mano I wished he never stopped. Aleksandra Kurzak had a amazing aria in the second act. And Veronique Gens.. wow. This is a voice that once you heard it you'll never forget it. Well done everybody!

Veronique Gens
Aleksandra Kurzak

Erwin Schrott

The conductor

There are two videos on the website of the Theatre an der Wien.

......Well, my dear follower, hope you liked it. Now come with me. There's more. I always do this as I don't want to break the spell so soon. After the emotions in the opera house there are the emotions from the backstage door. Soon you'll meet the cast. There are not too many people here this evening. So there are good chances to exchange a few words with Erwin&Co.
......Look, Erwin is coming! Wait one moment. Don't rush. Listen to what people are asking. and most of all, enjoy the view. As we were almost the last ones to talk to him, we found out that he visited Bucharest. He said "6 years ago". But no. it was 8 years ago. I googled that edition and to my huge surprise I found out that Juan Diego Florez, Grace Bumbry, Sonia Ganassi and Mariela Devia were here that same year. Look here. Where was I in 2001? Where were you in 2001, my dear follower?

......Here's a rose for you, Mr Schrott! For the great job you've done this evening. Share it with the rest of the cast. All together managed to make this evening unforgetable! Thank you!

......Thank you all for reading the story. See you soon. The Enescu Festival, the 19th edition, is coming soon. And if we don't meet here, see you in October, in London.

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