Cast and Characters
Gallery - Glyndebourne In Pictures
Menu Audio and Animation
|Running Time||174:34 minutes|
|Start Up||Language Selection, then Menu|
|Region||2,3,4,5,6||Director||Deborah Warner (Opera)
Derek Bailey (Video)
John Mark Ainsley
|Case||Super Jewel Case|
|RPI||$39.95||Music||Some hack by the name of Mozart|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||Italian (Dolby Digital 5.0, 448
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Original Aspect Ratio||Full Frame||
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
The broad synopsis of this opera is centred around its titular character, Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni is a womanizer of the highest order who uses his power and standing to seduce women of all sorts. The opera starts with his seduction of Donna Anna, who mistakenly thinks he is her beloved in Don Ottavio. Realizing she has been tricked into forfeiting her virginity, she pursues the fleeing Don Giovanni whilst screaming for help. After struggling with the deceiver, her father the Commedatore emerges to render assistance, only to be murdered by Don Giovanni, who departs the scene with his ever-suffering servant Leporello. Donna Anna returns to the scene with her beloved Don Ottavio to find her dead father and is distraught, pleading with Don Ottavio to swear to avenge her father's murder. Arriving on the scene is Donna Elvira, hell bent on revenge against Don Giovanni after the wrongs he has done to her, and willing to spread the sordid details of the way he operates to all and sundry. The scene changes to a party near the house of Don Giovanni where the newly weds Masetta and Zerlina are celebrating, at least until Don Giovanni turns up and seduces the beautiful Zerlina. Donna Elvira turns up too to denounce Don Giovanni and Donna Anna is there to realize that Don Giovanni is the one who violated her and murdered her father. Basically the rest of the opera is all about the hunt for Don Giovanni and his eventual descent into hell for failing to repent.
What more could you want in an opera? Sex, lies, intrigue, retribution and seduction. This is another glorious masterpiece of the genre. Magnificent music, some quite glorious arias and a story to keep the interest high. Whilst this is not the greatest cast ever assembled for this opera, it is certainly a pretty good one. Stand out for me is Juliane Banse who is quite wonderful as Zerlina, but she is barely ahead of Hillevi Martinpelto as Donna Anna. Gilles Cachemaille is a good Don Giovanni, and Steven Page is good as the suffering Leporello. Be aware though - this is a minimalist production with virtually no stage set to speak of, if your tastes should tend towards the traditional opera with big stage sets. The music is provided by the Orchestra of The Age Of Enlightenment, one of the best of the original instrument orchestras, and so you have here an orchestral sound rather similar to what would have been heard at the premiere of the opera in Prague in 1787. Overall, an enjoyable rendition of this great opera that bodes well for (hopefully) further releases in the series.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced.
The transfer is sharp and well-defined throughout, very slightly marred only by a couple of minor lapses of slightly diffuse image. This is helped by the very clean and clear transfer, although depth in such a stage production is not that great: obviously this is not a transfer problem but rather an inherent problem with the production. Shadow detail is not great, but this is also a reflection of the staging of the opera rather than any problems with the transfer. There is no problem with grain in the transfer, and low level noise is also not a problem.
The colours have quite a rich tone to them, although it is a quite natural looking colourscape. This is quite a vibrant transfer, mainly as a result of some well thought out stage lighting to emphasize what little colour there is throughout the opera. The colours are consistently rendered, and there did not appear to be any problem with colour oversaturation or bleed.
There did not appear to be any MPEG or film-to-video artefacts in the transfer, except for some extremely minor problems with aliasing in the ropes that form the lift for the one piece of stage setting. It is not however at all distracting to the performance. There was almost a complete absence of film artefacts in the transfer. From the point of view of purely a video transfer, this is a very clean, natural transfer, well capturing the intended feel of the production.
This is an RSDL
formatted DVD, as opposed to the dual sided effort of the earlier release,
with the layer change coming during the intermission between Act 1 and
Act 2 at
88:55. Obviously a more sensible
place for a layer change would be impossible to find!
The vocals generally came up clear and understandable in the soundtracks, although at times the 5.0 soundtrack did seem to fluctuate a little in the audio level. This is almost certainly an inherent problem with the staging of the opera, as this was also an issue on the earlier release. This was not a significant problem with the 2.0 soundtrack, but then again that soundtrack misses out on quite a lot of spatial detail.
Audio sync did not appear to be a problem with either soundtrack.
The 5.0 soundtrack makes very good use of the surround channels, the rear channels being especially effective with the music. Since opera is very dialogue-based, it is important that this is effectively balanced, and in that regard I have no complaints with the 5.0 soundtrack. A quite wonderfully encompassing sound is generated by the soundtrack and you certainly feel as if you are present at the performance. The bass channel obviously is left out of things here and that may be the only real complaint about the soundtrack.
The 2.0 soundtrack obviously loses a lot of that
detail from the surround channels, and at times the lack is very noticeable,
and I doubt that I would listen to this soundtrack given the choice. In
general, this is a less effective soundtrack as the sound is a little more
recessed. However, if you do not have a 5.0 decoder or the full complement
of surround speakers, by adjusting the audio level up a little, this is
still a solid, dependable soundtrack that will generate much enjoyment.
|Surround Channel Use|
A very good video transfer.
A very good audio transfer.
A good extras package showing that distributors do listen - occasionally!
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
21st September 2000
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|