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From Salzburg to North Tonawanda

Giovanni The Metropolitan Opera video simulcasts have proven to be such a draw across the country that other opera houses are following suit. One option for the long-distance opera fan is the Riviera Theatre, the beautiful old movie house in North Tonawanda. The Riviera has been showing big-screen productions taped in opera houses in Venice, Bologna and Salzburg.

Sunday at 2 p.m., the Riv will screen Mozart's "Don Giovanni" from the Salzburg Festival. Admission is $22, or $20 for students and seniors.

The production sounds kind of wacky. The picture of it above does not look too bad. But there is another point where Giovanni, Leporello and Zerlina smoke pot together, and in the first scene, as I understand, Don Giovanni and Leporello are portrayed as junkies shooting up. Why people have to do things like this with Mozart operas, I don't know.

Oh, look! I found a video promo of this production on You Tube. Check it out here. The video is of Leporello singing the "Catalog Aria," in which he taunts Donna Elvira about how many women the Don has lured into bed. He lists them country by country. (Most of them are in Spain, where the opera takes place and where Elvira, one of the Don's conquests, lives.)

Hmmm. Watching that, I am starting to think the production might be worth watching. The singers sound good and they are fine actors.

The good news is, if you don't like it, at least you won't have invested a lot of money going to Salzburg to see it. And the music is bound to be first rate. Christopher Maltman is the Don, and Erwin Schrott is his sidekick Leporello, and Annette Dasch and Dorothea Roschmann are Donna Anna and Donna Elvira, respectively. The Vienna Philharmonic is led by Bertrand de Billy.

For info on the Riviera Theatre, call 692-2113 or visit www.rivieratheatre.org.

If anyone makes it to this opera, let me know what you think!

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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