Don Giovanni: My Favorite

Buy this recording!(Photo: DGG)
Buy this recording!(Photo: DGG)

People ask me all the time, “What’s your favorite opera?”

I run through my usual suspects: Aida, Tristan und Isolde, Norma, all dearly loved and all with special meaning to different parts of my life.

But I never tire of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. In my youth the idea of love ‘em and leave ‘em, Don Juan’s imprimatur, was of course appealing.

Now the beauty of the music moves me as never before.  Don Ottavio’s two arias, Elvira’s Mi tradi, the Chorus crying out: Tutto e tuo cope e tuo cope a poco! (No doom can match your crimes!) as Don Juan is dragged to hell, and above all the trio of the masks in Act I.

I’m delighted to recommend a new recording of Don Giovanni. The conductor is the French-Canadian Yannick Nezet-Seguin, the newly appointed music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The singers include Diana Damrau, Joyce Di Donato, Rolando Villazon, Luca Pisaroni and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo in the title role

These are marvelous young artists in top form. Nezet-Seguin conducts the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with the perfect balance of swagger and elegance.Some recordings are either too prissy or too intense. 

Don Juan is a scoundrel but he’s a scoundrel breaking women’s hearts and their pathos can be heard. It is also wonderful to hear tenor Roland Villazon completely restored to vocal health after a few rough years.

Bravo to all! Get this for your beloved’s Christmas stocking.  Tell them I sent you.

Comments