The Devil it is

Boito’s Mefistofele is a rather odd work.  It’s truer to the original Goethe than other operatic versions of the Faust legend which means it’s very episodic and focuses on the Faust/Mefistofele relationship rather than on Margherita.  In fact she’s dead with an act and an epilogue still to go.  It’s hard to categorize musically too.  Some parts are rather bombastic, vulgar even, yet at other times we seem to be drifting into bel canto territory.  So it’s a bit uneven; listenable enough but not very memorable.

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Fatal attraction

Kasper Holten’s Royal Opera House production of Don Giovanni, seen in cinemas, is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.  It’s a visually and dramatically complex production so it’s probably as well that there’s plenty of explanatory material on the disks and in the booklet.  Es Devlin’s set is a two storey structure that rotates and serves as a screen for a heavy use of video projections by Luke Halls.  These start wth the 2065 names of the women Don Giovanni has seduced and seem to be mostly about what’s going on in Don Giovanni’s head.  The sequence during Fin ch’han dal vino calda la testa is particularly spectacular.

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