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Subject: Re: The Don
From: Akimon <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Akimon <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 24 Oct 2016 14:19:01 -0400

text/plain (45 lines)

I'm happy to see many of you found something to enjoy in this production, but this was 
very uneasy HD viewing for me.
The lack of coordination between Fabio Luisi and the singers was off, especially in case of 
Simon K, who might be used to the HIP style of fast tempos - which I prefer, too, but 
here he was often ahead of the beat. This is a great, intelligent reading of the title role, 
but his usually excellent singing did not materialize. Is his voice too light for the Met? Did 
he sound good in the house? Last time I heard Don G live at the Met, it was with Peter 
Mattei, so the bar is set quite high for me.
Adam Plachetka - what a great, resonant voice, and an interesting, lively Leporello, 
rather wasted in this production.
Hibla Gerzmava looked great but sounded scarily unhinged as Donna Anna. She did 
manage a stretch of beautiful singing at the beginning of Non mir dir, and then her voice 
turned back to the strident, shrilly tone, especially on top, with a horrible fluttery 
vibrato. I found myself cringing at that point.
Malin Bystrom has an interesting sound, but her facial contortions were too distracting. 
She really went for it in Mi Tradi aria, rolling on the floor, but I can't even remember 
what her singing was like, I just remember that weirdly down-turned right side of her 
Paul Appleby was an earnest Don Ottavio, but his style of singing is all wrong to my ears 
in this role. I have heard Villazon's Don Ottavio, and he has the same problem, singing 
Mozart in the early Verdi style. Some may like, it, but it bugs me.
Serena Malfi sounded monotonous indeed, though she was a good Zerlina on stage, 
especially in her scenes with Simon. Mathew Rose was ok as Masetto.
Kwnagchul Youn would not be my choice of Commendatore, the voice is too unsteady and 
not sonorous enough for this role.
The sets looked quite cheap up close, the final scene's special effects were cheesy, 
though they still got applause in the theater where I was watching it. Many scenes 
seemed to be played for cheap laughs, which they certainly did get. 
This is Don Giovanni, and it takes a lot to truly screw it up, especially in such rather 
uncontroversial setting, so I understand enough viewers were just fine with it, but I was 
really disappointed at just how lousy the whole thing was, and irritated by Met's inability 
to come up with something better for Simon Keenlyside. 

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