Erwin Schrott's shaved, carved chesticles could only distract us so much from sitting through a Don Giovanni that never delivered vocally, musically, or theatrically. In short, it only delivered chestically.
Saturday night's la prima of Mozart's Don Giovanni (in Peter Mussbach's revival of the production first seen at Scala four years ago, then conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, who at least gave an interesting if uneven reading of the score) was politely applauded at curtain call by the Milanese (OC included) just as politely as it was applauded four years ago. Throughout the decades, La Scala has given many impressive Don Giovannis: Abbado, Muti, Harding -- and let's not forget Dudamel's questionable (but yeah, exciting) Don in 2006 at Mussbach's premiere. Opera Chic (before she was Opera Chic) was there for Dudi's highly-anticipated stab at Mozart (and stab he did). And while she wasn't crazy about the production, it fared much better four years ago.
This year, the revival is conducted by Louis Langrée, current Music Director of Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival, and while we're definitely admirers of Langrée's artistic contributions in planning the festivals, his conducting of Mozart's lusty dramma giocoso -- neither really dramma nor giocoso in LL's reading -- left us cold.
Erwin Schrott as Don Giovanni -- who recently called himself "100% Uruguayan Meat" in a memorable Italian Vanity Fair Article from December 2009 -- swaggered his (sadly covered) a$$ in his high-waist black leather bell bottoms and floor-length duster (and no shirt -- which gave-off a distinctly 1980s Fabio Lanzoni vibe). Vocally efficient, but really, his bare chest had more stage presence than anything else. Schrott played Don as a cold, detached, calculating dick. It worked for Schrott, and although the Uruguay bass-baritone may have prepared himself well in a solid performance, his portrayal didn't gel with his colleague's interpretations on stage. There was no cohesion between the characters to speak of, and a definite lack of charisma and chemistry marred the production.