Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Don Giovanni - Coolidge Corner Theater

Last Saturday I saw this season's La Scala performance of Mozart's Don Giovanni at the Coolidge Corner Theater. Excluding the two chatty babushkas behind me, it was a great movie-going experience. I only have one short thing to say about the production. It is about the end of the opera, so if you've never seen it or heard it, stop reading now.

Don Giovanni, the suave philanderer, has been engulfed in flames and is going to hell for all he's done. The remaining characters appear onstage and his servant Leporello (a superb Bryn Terfel) describes how he was dragged to hell by the Commendatore. The last words they sing are, "This is the end of the evil-doer. And the death of wicked men is always just like their life." At this point in the La Scala production, Don Giovanni appears in the background, smoking a cigarette and walking towards the front of the stage. He points down and all the other characters begin descending in the same way Don Giovanni had earlier. He smirks as they descend singing the same line, "The death of wicked men is always just like their life." Now only the tops of their heads are visible. Don Giovanni nonchalantly tosses his cigarette into the fiery pit, grinning.

I loved this ending. It suggests that the real sufferer isn't Don Giovanni. He's dead, after all; he can't suffer anymore. The true sufferers are the ones who are left dealing with the consequences of his actions.

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