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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Mozart: Don Giovanni

03/02/2014 1:00 pm
03/02/2014 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

This will be the sixth time over thirty two years of opera broadcasting that I will again be presenting Mozart's immortal dramma giocoso from 1787.

Don Giovanni has always been well represented in the classical music discography. Practically every significant conductor of the recorded music era, going way back in the twentieth century, has left us an interpretation. Starting with Wilhelm Furtwangler's back in the 1950's (my broadcast of Sunday, April 23 ,1989), you have heard the interpretations of Sir Charles Mackerras, Roger Norrington, Michael Halusz and, most recently, Rene Jacobs (Sunday, February 8, 2009). Norrington and Jacobs gave us historically informed, period instrument interpretations.

The Rene Jacobs interpretations of all the major Mozart operas for Harmonia Mundi records have won much praise. You'd think they could not be bettered. But for comparison's sake at the very least you need to hear John Eliot Gardiner's take on "The Don." Gardiner is one of the pioneers in the "period" approach to baroque and early classical music performance. Through the 1990's he recorded all the well known Mozart operas. He recorded Don Giovanni in connection with the production of the opera at the 1994 Ludwigsburg Festival in Germany. Gardiner led the period instrument ensemble he founded, the English Baroque Soloists and Monteverdi Choir. Baritone Rodney Gilfry is the Don.

The Gardiner recordings of the Mozart operas for the German Archiv label have been gathered together and reissued in 2011 in an 18 CD boxed set. Again this Sunday I draw upon that Archiv reissue. Gardiner follows the Vienna version of Don Giovanni.