The world’s leading baritone, Simon Keenlyside not only made his Met role debut as Don Giovanni, in Mozart’s masterpiece, he had a few things to point out in the intermission about what many viewers might already had in their mind—how relevant the theme is to the modern media headlines.
For a history refresher, Don Giovanni opened in 1787, a few weeks before Delaware was the first state ratified the American Constitution, and on the eve of the French revolution. It was years ahead of Darwin’s Origin of Species.
However he did not have to remind us that the news is filled with debates about what the US constitution (from Supreme Court to Presidential elections) as well as filled with high profile stories of sexual allegations.
Keenlyside, a Cambridge graduate, could probably have talked about this for as long as the opera, but he had to go back on to Act II which shows Mozart’s solution to such flagrancy.
There is no controversy that Keenlyside’s voice is a treasure—and that his acting ability and his athleticism add a dynamism that makes his Don Giovanni all too real.
The superb cast included Hibla Gerzmava as Donna Anna and Malin Byström as Donna Elvira, with Adam Plachetka as Leporello and Matthew Rose as Masetto, Interesting to note that these roles are often traded, that is sopranos who sing Donna Anna might in another production sing Donna Elvira, and ditto with Leporello and Masetto. Paul Appleby was both strong and tender as Don Ottavio, Serena Malfi utterly delightful as the wise peasant girl Zerlina. Kwangchul Youn as the Commendatore was formidably scary
Met Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi led the orchestra and cast in this staging by Tony-Award winner Michael Grandage.
Met simulcast views also got a taste of what the next opera, Saariaho's L’Amour de Loin which will be presented live in select cinemas nationwide on Saturday, December 10