Saturday, December 13, 2008
Erwin Schrott is One Sexy Beast
Matt P. had told me about the guy who was singing "Don Giovanni" at the Met - Erwin Schrott, from Uruguay. He sang it beautifully last Tues night and he is one sexy beast on stage, even from the cheap seats. Ildebrando d'Arcangelo as Leporello was marvelous as well. For some reason, the psychology in this production seemed more complex to me than the one I saw at City Opera a few years ago. Characters seemed a bit more fleshed out here, not so easily pegged.
Schrott looks like the cover of a cheap romance novel, all long hair and white shirts and this exquisitely tailored black coat that flows behind him. He showed off his chest in the first scene where he practically went back to Dona Ana for sloppy seconds on the staircase. In a later scene, where they exchange clothes, Leporello had an inspired bit – as soon as he finds out he is to impersonate Giovanni, he drops to the floor and starts doing push ups.
He also ‘impersonated’ Schrott – sang his phrases like him. Which threw into relief how distinctive Schrott is in the part – he can do the hushed pianissimo thing and you don’t have to strain to hear. The song to Dona Elvira’s maid is so hushed and lovely and seductive, I can’t imagine anyone’s clothes not flying off of their own volition.
One thing I love about Giovanni - that thing starts wham bam and keeps going. Not a lot of exposition – 'oh my God I’m so tired sitting in the garden waiting for my master, 'I've got to go,' 'no if you leave me I’ll kill you,' Dad runs in 'what’s that noise' and then he's pushing daisies. It’s a breakneck opening and Mozart and da Ponte really sustain it. It’s not until the opening of the second act that the plot starts to meander for me – and by that point, really, I could care less. The plot is a loose weave, but who goes to an opera for dramaturgical structure?