Mozart: Don Giovanni (Don Giovanni: Salzburg Festival 2008) (EuroArts DVD: 2072544)
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Wild animals live in the woods. Robbers hide there. Mystery is at home there. And, when the woods are on the stage of Salzburg's Haus fur Mozart, a notorious ladies' man and his unsavoury accomplice can also find shelter there. For here, in the dense forest planted by director Claus Guth, is the home of the rugged macho Don Giovanni, who, assisted by Leporello, lures the ladies with the heady scent of danger. In Guth's almost cinematic Salzburg Festival production, every character in Mozart's most realistic opera seems to carry a back-story of thwarted love and frustration. Everyone appears to be seeking either salvation or damnation in the woods - a compelling concept that removes the opera from its traditional pseudo-Seville squares and palaces. And when Don Giovanni is played by Christopher Maltman, it's no wonder that Donna Anna (Annette Dasch), Donna Elvira (Dorothea Roschmann) and even Zerlina (Ekaterina Siurina) are ready to throw themselves at his feet. With a physique as striking as his full-bodied baritone voice, Maltman embodies Don Giovanni as an almost reluctant seducer, a man fated to bring misery to women and, ultimately, to himself. Next to Maltman, it is Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott who rivets the audience in this production: \Schrott's Leporello is an event in his own right, the event of the Salzburg Don Giovanni (Die Welt). Under Bertrand de Billy, the Wiener Philharmoniker play with refreshing verve and spirit."