BFO
Budapest Festival Orchestra
Press reviews August 27, 2017

Lurid Desire in a Pure Musical Vision

A production at the Mostly Mozart Festival sees the title character as a sex addict, surrounded by a world made of bodies for him to conquer. Critical review by Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal.

For “Don Giovanni” with his Budapest Festival Orchestra, Iván Fischer has tackled the perennial problem of a disconnect between conductor and director by doing both jobs himself. The production, mounted by Mostly Mozart at the Rose Theater last week, is thus an unusually pure musical vision, and with it, many of the opera’s theatrical challenges melt away.

Mr. Fischer sees Mozart’s title character as a sex addict, surrounded by a world made of bodies for him to conquer. The “set” is 16 lithe young actors, men and women, who pose as statues; form architectural features like windows, benches and grave monuments; or come alive, as a carriage with prancing horses, for example. Sometimes they are people, and serve as the chorus — the women acted out the different types in Leporello’s catalog aria of his master’s conquests; the men became Masetto’s posse pursuing Don Giovanni, though they were easily distracted when Giovanni gave them a joint to pass around.

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