From the YouTube Archives V: Excerpts from Don Giovanni

Seattle Opera has a premiere of a new production of Don Giovanni tonight, so I thought I would post a few highlights. I wasn’t able to find anything by Mariusz Kwiecien or any of the others in the cast that I checked for, but here anyway are some worthy performances from the past. Here, for example, is Otto Edelmann singing the Catalogue aria from Salzburger Festspiele in 1954, with Wiener Philharmoniker conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler. Lisa Della Casa plays Donna Elvira. Here also is Thomas Hampson singing Fin ch’han dal vino (known to Walker Percy fans as the aria sung by Dr. More in happier times, and remember that Percy was most likely inspired by Kierkegaard, who featured the opera as a central part of Either/Or, and there considered it one of the greatest artistic creations ever produced by man). Cecilia Bartoli shouts her way through Donna Elvira’s Ah, chi mi dice mai, conducted by Nikolas Haroncourt’s Zurich production in 2001. And here is Bartoli again, singing La Ci Darem La Mano with Bryn Terfel. This time it’s her facial expressions that make this an absolute must-see. For the sake of comparison, here is Mr. Terfel singing a pretty steamy, bordering on slimy, version of La Ci Darem with the Korean soprano Hei-Kyung Hong. As one commentator wrote, “Eewww!”. Going back in history, here is Dame Joan Sutherland as Donna Anna for Non mi dir. A performance version with much better audio is done by Edita Gruberova here. For a much different Donna Anna, here is Renee Fleming’s version of Or sai chi l’onore. Here is perhaps the most pathetic aria in the history of opera, sung (pretty well!) by a student: Batti batti, o bel Masetto. Incredibly, this is the only version I could find on the web. And for fans of Amadeus, here is the finale with Tom Hulce as Mozart, conducting. F. Murry Abraham is Salieri, doing the voice over.


  1. Big Jon, Bully says

    Sutherland has an enormous head and sometimes she is so loud she drowns out the orchestra.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    As usual, Jon, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

  3. Big Jon, Bully says

    The Bartoli/Terfel is utterly amazing, possibly the most amazing stage drama I’ve ever seen. Bartoli is so vulnerable she verges on homely, yet incredibly sexy (this is Supple Mental Pin-up material). Terfel is a total rogue; he’s obviously made this role his own. Have you ever seen that Renior with the dancing couple? Terfel is that man spot on. It’s getting watched over and over again up here. Thanks!

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