Harmless ‘Don Giovanni’ in Salzburg |

Salzburg (AP) – First a car falls from the sky and lands with a thud on the floor of the stage, then the commendatore’s wheelchair and a grand piano follow, on which Don Giovanni and his servant Leporello tinkle a little .

A large copier floats gently from above without breaking into pieces. Leporello needs the apparatus to reproduce the considerable register of the feminine conquest of his master. Spectacular details of the new production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” at the Salzburg Festival, which was enthusiastically acclaimed by the premiere audience on Monday evening, although it also had some shortcomings.

Mask required

The piece was actually slated for the festival’s 100th anniversary last year, but Corona thwarted the project, for which director Markus Hinterhäuser had teamed up his two favorite artists, conductor Teodor Currentzis and director Romeo Castellucci. This time, nothing got in the way, the rows of the Great Party Hall were fully occupied, only the mask requirement was again in effect as a (vaccinated) visitor to the “Jedermann” had subsequently been tested. positive for Corona. Admission checks were strict.

Three years ago, Castellucci had a great success with his interpretation of “Salomé” by Richard Strauss, with besides Asmik Grigorian in the main role, which is now celebrated in Bayreuth in Senta in “The Flying Dutchman” by Richard Wagner. Castellucci failed to repeat his Salzburg coup, even though the effort in terms of people and material was considerable; after all, it was a question of adequately filling the gigantic stage of the Festspielhaus. Now they have understood why this year, in addition to covers and covers, there are only two new opera productions on the program. The budget, which was cut due to the pandemic, may just not have been enough for more.

Infinite chain of symbols

Castellucci did not pursue a concept of interpretive director in the strict sense, although the figure of the unscrupulous murderer, seducer and bon vivant Don Giovanni has been the model of new deep holes in the cataracts of human passions for centuries. With Castellucci, the audience is challenged to “learn from the content”, as they say in the prologue to “Jedermann”, and to decipher the director’s endless chain of symbols and associations. For the second act after the break, Castellucci had recruited a hundred Salzburgers who, according to the program, were to give a face to the anonymous victims of the famous “register” of Don Giovanni.

The monumental unified scenography represented the interior of a Baroque church, which was first cleaned by Italian workers talking to each other. Then a living goat (two poodles and a rat later also make an appearance) strutted around the empty church, an act of desecration before Don Giovanni came here and the story of his last trip to hell, one of Mozart’s most impressive compositions, is his Takes a Race.

Pale voice

Sadly, Salzburg debutant Davide Luciano was too harmless Don Giovanni, more of an average Italian Strizzi than a monster, and also seemed quite pale vocally, while Russian Nadezhda Pavlova was deservedly celebrated as Donna Anna. Besides, we had rarely heard a “Don Giovanni” as slow as that evening. Currentzis let his ensemble music Aeterna, consisting of an orchestra and chorus, play differently and beautifully sounded, but there didn’t seem to be more of the old young savage of the classical scene that night than his compulsory combat boots.

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