Monday, December 20, 2010

"Io, Don Giovanni"

Legendary Spanish writer-director Carlos Saura's fifth collaboration with Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, Reds, The Last Emperor) is an elegant drama based on the life of 18th-century Italian libertine poet Lorenzo da Ponte. A good friend and protégé of Giacomo Casanova and the favorite librettist of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, da Ponte penned some of Mozart's finest operas, including Cosi fan tutte, The Marriage of Figaro and their final collaboration, Don Giovanni, one of the jewels of the repertoire. This film recounts the story behind the creation of this operatic gem. And while there are plenty of songs and theatrics, this is not simply a restaging of this opus; instead, it is a backstage tale full of both drama and the excesses of opera itself. There is love and certainly jealousy, in addition to scheming divas, court composers, faithful wives and ethereal young things, all used as raw material for artistic inspiration by da Ponte. Now on DVD:

Edelweiss Cinematografica)

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