[Met Tour] CID:225300

Don Giovanni
Hynes Civic Auditorium, Boston, Massachusetts, Sat, April 24, 1971

Don Giovanni (290)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart | Lorenzo Da Ponte
Don Giovanni
Cesare Siepi

Donna Anna
Edda Moser

Don Ottavio
Stuart Burrows

Donna Elvira
Teresa Zylis-Gara

Fernando Corena

Rosalind Elias

Theodor Uppman

John Macurdy

Kurt Adler

Review 1:

Review of Wesley Fuller in the Sunday Herald Traveler

Met Opera Closes with 'Don Giovanni'

A uniformly strong cast, fine, often enchanting sets, splendid costumes, and fluid, intelligent direction made the Metropolitan Opera's production of Mozart's "Don Giovanni" Saturday evening a cause for rejoicing. (There was one rather serious difficulty which kept the performance from being truly great; more on that later). It was the final performance of the company's one week stand at Hynes Civic Auditorium. As usual the hall was filled.

First, let's rejoice that this Opera exists, that Mozart, at the zenith of his powers, shaped these glorious melodies, affecting modulations, intricate ensembles and fast paced Finales; that his librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte, worked with him to transcend earlier versions of the legend into a moving depiction of the last days and final downfall of the unrelenting Giovanni.

The cast was in superb form. It is no news that Cesare Siepi's Giovanni is of the highest order. It was on Saturday night; the voice was full and vibrant, and he acted the part so that one shared his hedonistic intensity while wincing at its effects. Siepi's final scene produced a Giovanni who is frightened, running out of clever escapes and, finally, courageous and consistent.

All three women received excellent portrayals. Mozart achieves amazing musical differentiation between them, and the unique physical and vocal image of each singer further heightened the individuality of the characters.

Teresa Zylis-Gara's Donna Elvira was sung with free, unencumbered production. There were some problems of projection in the lower range, but the important thing is that she developed an Elvira of strength, compassion, and, in the final scene, of pathos. The warmth and fullness of her voice merged beautifully with the conception of the character.

Edda Moser as the somewhat more enigmatic Donna Anna displayed more than ample Mozartian vocal technique. Her last aria not only produced her finest tone of the evening, but also dazzled with agility. This voice is bright and incisive, not as warm as Zylis-Gara's, but very right in its shimmer for Donna Anna. When she was angry on a high note, it was vocally and dramatically exciting.

The resonant ring of Rosalind Elias' voice only occasionally narrowed into sharp edges and her portrayal of Zerlina was extremely convincing. Theodor Uppman provided a stumbling, easily angered, easily calmed Masetto. He sang well and his scenes with Zerlina were charming without being overly coy.

Don Ottavio is hardly developed as a character in the book, but when his two lovely arias are delivered with the clear, flexible tenor artistry of Stuart Burrows it simply doesn't matter. This was the finest tenor singing this listener heard all week, and in some time for that matter. The audience agreed and came close to demanding a second "Dalla sua pace." The melismas in "Il mio tesoro" were full of grace and clarity of tone. The voice can be lyric and still quite dramatic.

Fernando Corena excelled as Leporello. Mozart has already lifted the servant far above the buffa level, and Corena takes him still further into a combination of the comic and the concerned. John Macurdy sang an appropriately stony Commendatore. Some notes lacked projection in the final scene, but the color and style were chilling.

If only it were not necessary to say, as it is, that with all that magnificence on stage, there was a serious problem in the performance and it lay with the conductor and the orchestra. The overture scarcely resembled the intentions of Mozart with much too slow a tempo, with ritards abounding, lack of ensemble, and thin violin tone.

When singers set superb tempos on stage, and there was a chance to roll a bit, Conductor Kurt Adler simply ignored them and the result was frequent separation of singer and orchestras. This could not destroy this "Don Giovanni," but it certainly kept it from being the truly satisfying one it might have been.

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