The second cast for Washington National Opera’s Don Giovanni (see Charles's review of the first cast, as well as Master Ionarts' thoughts on the Family Look-In performance) offers audiences the unique chance to hear brothers Ildar Abdrazakov (Don Giovanni, after singing Leporello in the first cast) and Askar Abdrazakov (Leporello) in lead roles. Having both trained under the same teacher at the same Russian institute, the Abdrazakov brothers complemented one another musically and dramatically, particularly when Don Giovanni and Leporello exchanged costumes to further the Don's hedonistic schemes. In Tuesday's performance, the Abdrazakovs maintained a strong rapport with the orchestra, with the vocalist leading ever so slightly. It was not obvious that Ildar (Don Giovanni) is actually the younger brother of Askar (the servant Leporello).
Anja Kampe as Donna Elvira, Washington National Opera, 2007,
photo by Karin Cooper
Donna Elvira (Anja Kampe) was most persuasive musically by making every note unique and highly resonant. Additionally, Kampe fully expressed Donna Elvira’s conflicted feelings toward the Don when singing, “he has cruelly betrayed me; he has made me suffer...yet my heart goes out to him.” Commendatore Morris Robinson truly frightened in the minor-keyed tumult in Act II stating to the Don: “Earthly food has no power to nourish; your time on earth is done.” (Robinson was recently heard with the NSO in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.) John Tessier, as Don Ottavio, displayed a smooth tenor instrument, at times outstanding and at others missing enough support for adequate legato. Israel Gursky’s objective conducting made coordination issues between singers and orchestra rare. Go, B team!
Daniel Ginsberg, 'Don Giovanni' (Washington Post, November 10)
Only a few seats remain for the final performance of Don Giovanni tomorrow night (November 16, 7:30 pm), in the Kennedy Center Opera House.