A new Italian production of Don Giovanni,
reviewed by GIUSEPPE PENNISI
According to the Opera Base data bank, at the end of the twentieth century, Don Giovanni by Lorenzo Da Ponte and Wolfgang A Mozart replaced Carmen by Georges Bizet as the most frequently performed opera in the world every year. The statistics do not include the two daily puppet performances in Prague (where the opera was premiered on 29 October 1787). In a perceptive essay, musicologist Julian Rushton points out that one of the reasons for the success of this opera (the second in the generally called Da Ponte-Mozart trilogy) is the skillful combination of two main elements — one highly dramatic and one quite comic — both theatrically and musically. In the last important productions, as those premiered in Aix en Provence in 2010 [Read Nearly a Male Lulu, 10 July 2010] and in Milan [An Immoralist Black Comedy, 12 December 2011], the tragic components strongly prevailed over the hilarious parts. Christoff Loy's Don Giovanni production which recently had its debut at Frankfurt Oper takes a similar approach, using an edition of the score where the Prague and later Vienna editions are mixed following traditional lines.