Sublime Mozartian Singing
Vienna State Opera
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Don Giovanni
Ferruccio Furlanetto (Don Giovanni), Bryn Terfel (Leporello), Barbara Frittoli (Donna Elvira), Iulia Isaev (Donna Anna), Rainer Trost (Don Ottavio), Goran Simic (Il Commendatore), Heidi Brunner (Zerlina), Boaz Daniel (Masetto)
Franco Zeffirelli (Director/Designer)
Chorus of the Vienna State Opera, Ernst Dunshirn (Chorus Director)
Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, Peter Schneider (Conductor)
Franco Zeffirelli’s poetic staging of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is one of the most durable productions in the repertory of the Vienna State Opera. Although more than 25 years old, it has lost none of its charm and is still undeniably effective with its warm colours and handsome period-style costumes.
This run of performances was served by a strong cast. The title role was given by Ferruccio Furlanetto who sang and acted well, but whose rather dark and heavy voice is much better suited for Leporello than for the Don and lacks the elegance and seductiveness required for the part. He was frequently upstaged by Bryn Terfel’s brilliant Leporello who dominated the evening both vocally and dramatically. Terfel not only has a magnificent rich, warm voice – his superbly sung Catalogue Aria deservedly won the biggest applause of the evening – but he is also a most communicative actor with a great sense of humour and plenty of charm. Frankly, I would have preferred to see him as the Don and Furlanetto as Leporello.
The other voices were well balanced. Barbara Frittoli made a highly sympathetic Donna Elvira, not over-dramatized but truly suffering from the brutal treatment she receives from the Don. Her "Mi tradi" was another highlight of the evening. Iulia Isaev was a noble Donna Anna, with a lovely voice and excellent musicianship. She delivered the coloratura parts of her role extremely well and also offered some beautiful piano singing. Rainer Trost was a honey-toned Don Ottavio full of youthful ardour and did a very creditable job of his two big arias. Heidi Brunner was a delightfully coquettish, bright-voiced Zerlina, Boaz Daniel sang Masetto with firm tone and great vigour and Goran Simic was a resonant Commendatore. Peter Schneider gave a well-paced account of the score and drew extremely fine playing from the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera.