The end of the Mets season also means the beginning of the Met season and Lincoln Center’s venerable opera hall if back in business for its 50th season.
The Met is welcoming back a number of productions from its repertoire, including an old standard like Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
First performed at the Met in 1883, the year the Brooklyn Bridge opened, the Opera was updated in 2011 by Michael Grandage, and this was a reprise of that performance.
Also notable, this reprise is the return of Simon Keenlyside, who has stayed away from the stage due to health reasons, in the title role of Don Giovanni.
The opera itself is a retelling of the story of Don Juan. Even though it’s supposed to take place in Seville, Grandage’s setting makes it a more nondescript Spanish street with a number of windows and doorways.
What worked, because it was new in 2011, seemed to have become long in the tooth five years later with the setting not enhancing the performance.
And Keenlyside’s low key performance couldn’t carry the opera in the title role. His muted signing took away from the strong performances by the supporting cast.
Most notably, the two supporting male performances of Paul Appleby as Don Ottavino and Adam Plachetka as Don Giovanni’s servant Leporello. Both singers hit their notes and received the biggest applause from the audience. Matthew Rose’s Masetto also hit many of his notes.
The female roles of Malin Bystrom (Donna Elvira), Hibla Gerzmava (Donna Anna), and Serena Malfi (Zerlina) were very good as well.
But those performances can’t save this production. The set and the costumes just distract from the singing.
Because Keenlyside and Plachetka differ greatly in stature, the scene where they change clothes is not very believable and Kwangchul Youn’s Commendatore looked more like the emperor from Star Wars,rather than a statue that came to life.
Conductor Fabio Luisi rides the orchestra at a fast pace, maybe a little too fast at times for the singers to keep up.
Still it’s nice to see Keenlyside back on stage again. This version of Don Giovanni may not have played as well as many of the other fine production The Met, but everyone is entitled to have a dud every once in a while.
But the good news is that it all changes in the spring with a whole new cast. So maybe later on in the season, Don Giovanni will be an improvement from this version we saw this week.
The October 22 performance of Don Giovanni will be transmitted worldwide as part of the Met’s Live in HD series, which is now seen in more than 2,000 movie theaters in 72 countries around the world.
Additional performances: October 15mat, 19, 22mat, November 1, 4, 10, April 26, 29, May 3, 6, 11. Curtain times vary.
Tickets begin at $25; for prices, more information, or to place an order, please call (212) 362-6000 or visit www.metopera.org. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available by calling (212) 341-5410 or visiting www.metopera.org/groups.
Same-day $25 rush tickets for all performances of Don Giovanni are available on a first-come, first-served basis on the Met’s Web site. Tickets will go on sale for performances Monday-Friday at noon, matinees four hours before curtain, and Saturday evenings at 2pm. To enter, click here.