It’s becoming a bit of a habit. The Royal Opera has released a video recording of the 2019 revival of Kaspar Holten’s 2014 production of Don Giovanni directed by Jack Furness and conducted by Helmut Haenchen. I’ve already reviewed both the DVD and the cinema broadcast of the 2014 production so saying much about the production would be superfluous. Suffice to say it’s one of the better Don Giovannis available on disk.
The difference this time is the cast and the differences are quite subtle. Let’s look at the men first. Erwin Schrott is an excellent Don but maybe just a little less dangerous than Marius Kwiecien. Roberto Tagliavini’s Leporello is very similar to Alex Esposito’s. Daniel Behle, as Don Ottavio, is a very good Mozart stylist but then so is Antonio Poli. As for the ladies, Malin Bystrōm is Donna Anna on both recordings. I like the 2014 version more. It’s wilder and sexier to my mind. Myrtò Papanatsiu, as Donna Elvira, simply can’t match the brilliant Véronique Gens on the earlier version. Both hr singing and acting are rather old fashioned and mannered which doesn’t really work in this production. Louise Alder on the new recording gets the nod as Zerlina though. She’s much more lively and appealing than Elizabeth Watts who is just a bit too much like Miriam Margolyes playing Queen Victoria. Everything else is pretty much a wash. On balance, I prefer the earlier version.
In terms of disk package, I watched 2019 on Blu-ray rather than DVD and it’s predictably better. However it’s a rather barebones package by Opus Arte standards with a couple of short interview based extras and very perfunctory documentation. If you want to learn about the production you need the earlier version. Jonathan Haswell is video director on both disks and I can’t see much in the way of differences. In summary both disks are very good but if you have to pick one or other get the earlier one.
The catalogue number for this disk is Opus Arte Blu-ray OABD7295D