Thursday, December 29, 2011


I am pretty sure we can all agree that the old film-operas are garbage and we all prefer DVDs of the actual theatrical performances. This is probably due to the fact that all these film-operas were HORRIBLY produced, with very creepy and/or cheesy acting, lip-synching...

But the things have changed since and the clever-talented directors make better productions and know how to make interesting operas and films. Kasper Holten --author of the best Ring on DVD to date-- and his team did a superb job: they shortened Don Giovanni to 105 minutes, freely translated it into English, lined up a fantastic cast of singers who can act and who actually do sing throughout the whole film.

Cleverly, they call it Juan and not Don Giovanni. In this way the traditionalists who might be... let me guess... who might be outraged, will calm down soon knowing that this is not Don Giovanni -- this is Juan.

I was offered DVD of this film as a Christmas present, reluctantly started watching it and... and in the end LOVED IT.

I guess many of you saw it already but if you didn't you should!


Juan ..... Christopher Maltman (England)
Leporello ..... Mikhail Petrenko (Russia)
Politichefen ..... Eric Halfvarson (USA)
Anna ..... Maria Bengtsson (Sweden)
Ottavio ..... Peter Lodahl (Denmark)
Elvira ..... Elizabeth Futral (USA)
Zerlina ..... Katija Dragojevic (Sweden)
Masetto ..... Ludvig Lindström (Sweden)

Director ..... Kasper Holten

Wholeheartedly recommended. It's good to offer either to an opera freak or to someone who you would like to hook up on opera.

Links to Amazon: fra, uk, ger, ita [didn't find a link to the US/Can-Amazon, guess it's not yet released across the pond...]


  1. Interesting, Holten is new head of Royal Opera House, but we don't get the movie here. My friend saw it in the US and wrote a long description. You are perceptive ! They don't make movies based on opera anymore. Some were so crazy, though, like the one which mixed Der fliegende Hollander with Carmen and starred Ava Gardner naked!

  2. Agree with everything you say here. Except I think one good old opera film is Ingmar Bergman's Magic Flute. The rest of them is ... sad, true.

  3. Hi Doundou. I have big hopes that Holten will bring a breath of fresh air to ROH. Juan is on DVD now -- that's how I've gotten to see it. I remember several months ago, I saw the trailer of Juan and thought it was just a big stunt, but no -- very well done, technology helping, and the translation was great. It accommodates, for example, Petrenko's Russian accent ;)

    Hi Anonymous. That went through my mind too after I blogged. This is an exception but even there technology was bad at the time, lip-synching was not very good... something that the youngsters today immediately notice. But I agree, Bergman was a notable exception.