Mozart: Don Giovanni, K527 - MusicAeterna, Teodor Currentzis

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Product Details

Don Giovanni, K527
MusicAeterna & MusicAeterna Choir, Teodor Currentzis
Sony Classical
3 CD
Your Price:
$59.99 (You save $10.00)
Catalogue Number: 88985316032

Product Description

The eagerly awaited release of Don Giovanni represents the culmination of the critically acclaimed cycle of Mozart's Da Ponte operas from the charismatic conductor Teodor Currentzis and MusicAeterna, the orchestra and choir he founded in Siberia.

Don Giovanni is the final chapter in a 4-year project that Sony Classical has undertaken with Currentzis and MusicAeterna to create new no-compromise studio recordings of Mozart's most important operatic works.

In their quest for perfection, the musicians recorded the whole of Don Giovanni twice. Currentzis discarded the results of the first recording sessions in late 2014 almost in their entirety. 

Living in a unique artistic community based in Perm, Russia, these artists strive to work and record under ideal conditions. Currentzis' stated goal with this project was "to show what can be achieved if you avoid the factory approach of the classical music mainstream." 

The recordings represent an unprecedented commitment by the artists in terms of preparation, session & postproduction time, and the quest for the best possible sound. They also embody a radical new approach to orchestral virtuosity, as well as fidelity to the score, vocal style and performance practice.

Speaking about the masterpiece that he left for last in recording the cycle, Currentzis said:

"With this work he broke the boundaries of the genre and when I try to find the next step forward from Don Giovanni, there is none. I feel that the next step in opera is probably Alban Berg's Wozzeck. Mozart went in a direction that was very difficult to follow. He composed with such virtuosity of time, colour, orchestration, voices and ensembles that he was almost impossible to follow. There were other Dons before Mozart's, the character was legendary. But Mozart's Don Giovanni made the legend go viral, all the way to Rainer Maria Rilke; it inspired a period of great poetry and inspired the Romantics, not as a musical wave but as a literary and philosophical wave….This opera is our great inheritance, which is why all these philosophers and musicologists are still dealing with it."

About his approach to the music:

"One of the alluring qualities of Mozart: he invites you on stage, he wants the audience to live in his world; especially in Don Giovanni, he invites you to be a part of this psychoanalytic game, to be at the centre of the experiment, at the centre of the "transpositions" that take place. In seeking to achieve that, we tried to create a sound that is different from Così fan tutte and Figaro, a sound that would have the coldness of the Salzburg church music tradition – that of the Masses or the Requiem – the sound of Michael Haydn, that goes all the way back to Biber; it's a very specific sound, humming the meek solemnity of the old churches of Salzburg with a mysterious sonority. In other, more physical parts, we switch to a Mediterranean sound, a Baroque sound. Don Giovanni is hard because you need two orchestras: you need a very serious orchestra, a Central European orchestra that plays "Or sai chi l'onore", that plays the overture and then you need the other sound, the Mediterranean sound for the other part of Mozart which loves his surrogate motherland, Italy, and is very open. His amazing nature contains two worlds. We really worked a lot on our sound to reflect this combination."

The recording sessions started in the Tchaikovsky State Opera and Ballet Theatre, Perm, Russia on September 30, 2014. The work was done in daily sessions of up to 12 hours, which the MusicAeterna orchestra and choir as well as their conductor are used to dedicating to their recording projects.

After finishing thirteen days of sessions, and before editing and mixing could start, Teodor Currentzis started re-examining the material captured. Reluctantly, he decided that it did not attain the highest level that the musicians and the recording team were capable of. Currentzis, a lifelong audiophile, also insisted on rethinking every element of the recording set-up itself, especially executing additional acoustic modifications in the theatre's main auditorium, as well as changing all the details of the microphone set-up, one of the most complex tasks in a full opera studio recording.

The decision was made to re-record the whole work. This happened in a second fifteen-day period between November 23 and December 7, 2015. The final version of this Don Giovanni is almost exclusively the result of that second period. Except for a few recitatives, the material from the first sessions in 2014 was destroyed in its entirety.

As stated at the launch of the cycle, Currentzis' approach to the Mozart scores is based on the conviction that it is virtually impossible today to hear them performed precisely and in full. His stated intention is to undo what he considers the effects of 20th-century operatic tradition focused on simplification and vocal volume at all cost. For Currentzis, these recordings represent the culmination of a decade-long research project dedicated to the discrepancies between the composer's will and what our ears have grown accustomed to. 

Dimitris Tiliakos (Don Giovanni), Vito Priante (Leporello), Myrtò Papatanasiu (Donna Anna), Kenneth Tarver (Don Ottavio), Karina Gauvin (Donna Elvira), Guido Loconsolo (Masetto), Christina Gansch (Zerlina), Mika Kares (Il Commendatore)

MusicAeterna & MusicAeterna Choir, Teodor Currentzis

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Sunday Times

16th October 2016

“This is the last — and best — of Currentzis’s controversially explosive trio of recordings of the great Mozart-Da Ponte comedies...the singers here are new, including two exemplary Italians, Vito Priante and Guido Loconsolo, who make as much of the fast-moving recitatives as they do of the arias...Tiliakos is an outstanding Don, bassy in timbre and relishing his rolled Rs as much as the Italians.”

The Times

28th October 2016


“his MusicAeterna orchestra is on scorching’s not just the virtuosity that compels admiration but the stylistic subtleties too...As for the singing, that continues to be shaped by Currentzis’s belief that Mozart’s performers would have had very different voices — less “operatic”, more naturalistic or even folky — to those customarily singing Mozart today.”

The Guardian

6th November 2016


“[Currentzis is] sceptical, questioning, reinventing with bright lights and vividly colourful insights. Currentzis’s Russian orchestra steals the show with its incisive approach (but sack the clever-clever fortepianist). The ensemble is superbly tight.”

BBC Music Magazine

Christmas 2016


“[this Don Giovanni] strips away many of our distorting performance habits, and the result is refreshing, revelatory and unsettling…Tiliakos is a dramatic Don…Loconsolo is vocally nimble and petulant as required…Gauvin has [Elvira] fully under control and her roulades in the quartet are ravishing. Do not expect a familiar ‘warm bath’ experience here; it offers an invigorating shower of fresh new insights”

New York Times

24th November 2016

“an idiosyncratic, sometimes startling, always riveting listening experience.”

Gramophone Magazine

November 2016

“we have a very pleasantly sung Don Giovanni from the Greek baritone Dimitris Tiliakos…Vito Priante’s Leporello is in many ways excellent…Kenneth Tarver sings pleasingly as a lyrical Don Ottavio…Christina Gansch is a very respectable Zerlina”


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