D.hat could not be otherwise. It had to be a sensation. After Richard Strauss staged “Salome”, the Italian director Romeo Castellucci was celebrated three years ago in Salzburg as the light figure of a magical-mythical theater. For Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” he was assigned the only imaginable partner for a firmly priced overwhelming power: the conductor Teodor Currentzis, who is admired for shaking up the opera business. As a result, the media weather report reported early on that the “potential for excitement was in the air”; A few hours after the performance, a review by Bayerischer Rundfunk said that the conductor had done his duty: Mozart – well, what? “To brush against the grain”.
Black and dark the Festspielhaus as the conductor walks to the podium, the huge stage area is brightly lit behind a milky gauze curtain. It is the sacred space of a church. It takes seven or eight minutes during which a dozen benches are rolled out. A picture of Christ is taken down. A billy goat crosses the room, which from then on becomes the battlefield of a “rabid child” (Castellucci about Giovanni) who “lashes out” in the following hours. Giovanni and Leporello enter the scene as doppelgangers, and we learn from the instructions for use in the program booklet that the servant as “excremental nature” means alter ego his master is.
It stays light when Donna Anna is overpowered by Don Giovanni – not raped because she tries to hold on to him. This is reflected in a duplication of the scene. What Anna reports to her fiancé Ottavio in the Accompagnato (No. 2) is visualized by a double on a mattress. Such a bed is also there, on which Giovanni sinks down with Zerlina, and that he is the unexpectedly expected of her dreams becomes evident when her seductiveness is sensualized by the lustful, lascivious turns of a naked double lying behind her.
Effect, as Richard Wagner put it, is an effect without a cause. Castellucci’s staging is richer in effects than Leporello’s register of erotic conquests. The director, who is also responsible for the stage, costumes and lighting, wants to charge the neutral architecture of his space with meaning: “through a precise dramaturgy of appropriate and inappropriate objects that fall, appear and dissolve”. It is raining balls from the sky, which hit the ground and are stabbed by Ottavio; A piano falls with a crash and Giovanni is jingling; A car crashes onto the stage floor; to the erotic duel between Giovanni and Zerlina, a carriage descends for their imagined journey to the castle; Leporello pulls in a copier during his register aria, probably as a cipher for his master’s continuous sexual use.
Authentic Salzburg women en masse
A really great scenic idea to bring 150 Salzburg women onto the stage as victims of the antihero in the second act: young and old, plump for the winter, slim ones for the summer, as performed by Leporello, which lead over in fabulously choreographed and magically illuminated marches the stage to be led. In the final scene, the stone guest appears alone as a megaphonically amplified voice, in front of which Giovanni writhes in desperate twitches and, smearing white paint on his naked body, transforms into a skeleton. But what arises from the accumulation of the actions performed with fantastic virtuoso brilliance turns into a monotony that may be exhausting for the viewer.