GREAT PERFORMANCES on Thirteen/WNET NY

If you like Dmitri, you'll like...


A production of Rhombus Media
with 13/WNET, Bravo, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC Records
and NHK-Japan.
Created & directed by:
Barbara Willis Sweete
Hvorostovsky pulls off a baritone's dream
of a double role...


as Don Giovanni/Leporello in a PBS
GREAT PERFORMANCES
program

The debonair Russian baritone, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, is both Leporello and Don Giovanni, both servant and master, in this clever and provocative one-hour fantasy film-within-a film adaptation of Mozart's 1787 masterpiece.
Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann
Leporello is transported into a 1930's screening room where, standing tuxedo-clad before the opera cast, he sings both of his misery in servitude to the abusive Don Giovanni and of his wish to become the philandering Don. On the screen behind him, he gets his wish --- a black-and white-film unreels, showing the Don en masque ala Zorro, mired in his licentiousness and in the end unmasked to be - surprise?? - who else but Leporello! His fantasy of servant-become-master is realized to the blazing end, where the unrepentant Don is dragged down, and Leporello falls, into the fiery chasm of hell.

Click to replay.
Photos: Anne Dixon
This TV film is director Barbara Willis Sweete's sweet fantasy as well, perhaps her take on that scene in Act II of the opera where Don Giovanni, consummate libertine (and accidental killer), swaps clothes with Leporello so he can carry on with his paramour's maid in the guise of his manservant. Well-made, clever, and engaging, the film distills into one hour the essence of Don Giovanni as both serio-comic opera and morality play (murder and profligacy do not go unpunished!) in a format that gives occasion for one baritone to sing two of opera's dream baritone roles not only in the same show but in the same scenes.

Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann
And of course, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the consummate baritone, in his first film role, rises to the occasion. The camera zooms in on both his vocal gifts and his acting talent to great effect, proving beyond a doubt that he is a natural singer and actor. Fans are treated to an hour of pure Hvorostovsky, or almost pure - as Don Giovanni must of course share the stage/film not only with his manservant but also with his willing (Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, and Zerlina) and unwilling (the Commendatore) victims.

If you're "washed," all you have to do is be open-minded, and then just sit back and enjoy. And even if you're "unwashed," brush up a bit on the erotic adventures of Don Juan, and you'll very likely enjoy the hour. And, who knows? perhaps you'll be seduced to like opera as much as we do. -
GJ/FanFaire 2001

Don GIovanni is well on its way to becoming one of Dmitri Hvorostovsky's signature roles. He sang it to acclaim at the San Francisco Opera in 2000 (click HERE for a production photo) and premiered the role in a new production at the 1999 Salzburg Festival.

Here's the rest of the cast: Gary Relyea* - Commendatore, Dominique LaBelle - Donna Anna, Barbara Dunn Prosser - Donna Elvira (sung by Liesel Fedkenheuer) , Krisztina Szabo - Zerlina, Michael Colvin - Don Ottavio, Alain Coulomb - Masetto, and Florence Illi - the maid. Richard Bradshaw conducts the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra

Click HERE for a short Hvorostovsky bio, HERE for a discography, and HERE for a list of the arias and musical highlights.

* Father of FanFaire featured artist, bass-baritone John Relyea - yes, music does run in the family!

All photos courtesy of Thirteen/WNET NY
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