26 April 2021 | DoctorStrabismus
An interesting reconstruction of the origins of Don Giovanni
My title does not say that it is an accurate reconstruction, and it probably does not set out to be, as just how much is known of the events of October 1787 might be up for debate. That the overture was a last minute composition is apparently true, as is the fact that the Duscheks were prominent in Prague's operatic world, but I expect that much of the rest was a rich blend of fantasy and artistic licence. However, the location choice of the Estates Theatre, the genuine venue of the opera's premiere, was a terrific touch.
Seeing Cilla Black's hubby pop up as Mozart was a surprise, but he did a far better and more credible job than.the clown-like Tom Hulce in 'Amadeus' some 33 years earlier. And having a real life Don Giovanni imposing his attentions on the women of the city was an interesting twist as a suggestion of Mozart's inspiration for the story, especially with a servant named Laporel, so similar to the opera's Leporello.
But the truth is that Mozart only arrived in the city 11 days prior to the planned premiere, so by that point he must have already composed just about everything, if not the overture. That premiere was postponed by two weeks, but apparently only for organisational reasons.
I have seen Don Giovanni countless times over the last 60 years or so, and that made it intriguing viewing for me. However the shooting was way too dark - yes, I know they only had candles and oil lamps in 1787, but as an audience we need to be able to see the faces and have a clear grasp of what is going on. And the dialogue was at times so mumbled that I would have liked subtitles. So in conclusion, 7/10 is a fair score.