WORKS: Don Giovanni
PERFORMER: Gerald Finley, Luca Pisaroni, Anna Samuil, William Burden, Kate Royal, Anna Virovlansky, Guido Loconsolo, Brindley Sherratt; Glyndebourne Chorus; OAE/Vladimir Jurowski; dir. Jonathan Kent (Glyndebourne, 2010)
CATALOGUE NO: EMI 072 0179 (NTSC system; dts 5.1; 16:9 picture format)
There’s nothing colder than the flames of Hell: that’s the lasting impression left by Jonathan Kent’s fine production of Don Giovanni for Glyndebourne. And, thanks to camerawork as taut as the stage direction, you’ll be shivering with the best of them by the end of this DVD.
The violence which Vladimir Jurowski and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment unleash within the Overture anticipates the particularly icy brutality of what is to come. Within a community on the cusp (the decadent high society of Franco’s late 1950s), this Don, played by Gerald Finley, is a master of control: hands in tailored pockets, and operating with a steely indifference to all. The nearest he gets to a smile is teeth bared in a grimace. Finley and Luca Pisaroni’s nimble Leporello play a thought-provoking double act. And Finley gives this vision vocal assurance matching the clarity of Jurowski’s conducting and the momentum generated by Kent within the ever-shifting Pandora’s box of a design.
In the chill, bleached moonlight, and later in the snow, Kate Royal is a deeply serious, thrillingly sung Donna Elvira; Anna Samuil an equally classy, flaring soprano of a Donna Anna. William Burden is a clear, vocally slimline Don Ottavio. And Anna Virovlansky’s Zerlina is lustrously feisty of voice and spirit. Kent, Jurowski, Finley and Royal all have valuable insights to offer in the two 10-minute backstage bonus features. Hilary Finch