Mozart: Don Giovanni

LABELS: Bel Air Classiques
WORKS: Don Giovanni
PERFORMER: Peter Mattei, Gilles Cachemaille, Nathan Berg, Mark Padmore, Alexandra Deshorties, Mireille Delunsch, Lisa Larsson, Gudjon Oskarsson; Mahler CO/Daniel Harding; dir. Peter Brook (Aix-en-Provence, 2002)


An orange rectangle suspended in the darkness of a Provençal summer night; minimal ‘stage elements’ of scarlet benches, poles and frames; an indigo nocturnal light, with the open-air breeze blowing hair and silks: Peter Brook’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the 2002

Aix-en-Provence Festival, in its alluringly elegant and understated perception, could not be in greater contrast to the also revelatory Calixto Bieito DVD reviewed here in May. Both are hugely impressive in their own way – and testament to the wide universe of experience within Mozart’s masterwork.

Vincent Bataillon’s video realisation of this Aix production captures nicely the fertile relationship between Brook’s direction and Daniel Harding’s conducting. Both pay close attention to recitatives, to spritely pacing, and to silence itself. Each character and every relationship is meticulously observed.

Gilles Cachemaille’s Leporello is in comradely cahoots with Peter Mattei’s magnificently sung, louring Don Giovanni – which makes the Don’s turning on him all the more horrific. The Donna Anna of Alexandra Deshorties is fiercely and firmly sculpted; Mireille Delunsch’s Donna Elvira, with her fine-grained legato singing, is a study in highly-strung, grave tenderness. Mattei’s Don is so chillingly credible that only Masetto sees through him: Nathan Berg’s canny performance

is nicely matched by the somewhat earthy Zerlina of Lisa Larsson.


Icelandic bass Gudjon Oskarsson is the fine Commendatore who, with the Don, ‘invisibly’ revisits the living in the final ensemble – making for a disturbing and questioning ending to this shrewd and honest production. With its engrossing extra interview with Peter Brook, it’s without doubt the best in DVD to date.