I went to Walter Hall last night to see a couple of Mahler works in chamber reduction played by the Faculty Artists Ensemble conducted by Uri Mayer. I think I like Mahler in chamber reduction a lot. With one instrument to a part complex textures become clearer. No doubt there are conductors that can produce that clarity with a big orchestra but there are also, sadly, too many who reduce it to a grisly stew of unidentified body parts. It also allows singers to be heard without screaming. The only time I want to hear a tenor sounding like a goat being slaughtered is in that Dean Burry piece. I guess chamber reduction might not work for, say, the 8th Symphony but for the orchestral song cycles, the 4th Symphony, and, I’d hazard a guess, the 2nd Symphony I like it just fine.
The Real Don Giovanni is an extremely quirky 1998 docu-drama starring Sir Thomas Allen. It’s set during a work when he is singing the Don at the Stavovské divadlo; site of the opera’s 1787 premier. He’s also investigating his theory that Don Giovanni was based on Giacomo Casanova who was, indeed, he claims, much involved in the creation of the opera. He pursues his research in various archives, including Duchkov Castle, ladies’ bedrooms and through an interesting encounter with two tarts in a graveyard..