Passion, forbidden love and ‘gunshots’ in a semi-scenic performance of mozart’s Don Giovanni. The Basel Chamber Orchestra and Giovanni Antonini join an exceptional cast on stage, at #EnescuOnline
Between May 31 and June 3, the George Enescu Festival Online offers opera lovers worldwide, in the comfort of their homes, a great performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni, coming from the Basel Chamber Orchestra conducted by maestro Giovanni Antonini, and a stellar international cast. This is one of the four opera-in-concert performances of 2019 edition that brought the George Enescu Festival its first International Opera Awards nomination, in 2020, in the top 5 genre events that promote opera music all over the world.
Starting from Lorenzo da Ponte’s brilliant libretto – an adaptation of the play by Tirso de Molina, which also inspired Molière’s Don Juan – Mozart‘s music gives Don Giovanni a metaphysical dimension, which makes this opera much more than a simple story. Don Giovanni is the quintessential example of Mozart’s genius, where the best and worst of human nature are on display, where the tragic and the grotesque, the sublime and the ridiculous intertwine in the pursuit of the most spiritual and earthly desires. All this comes together in such beautiful music that Richard Wagner would claim Don Giovanni is “the opera of all operas.”
The Basel Chamber Orchestra renders with great finesse the range of semantic nuances of this dramma giocoso (joyous drama), in a dynamic and coherent concert version, emboldened by the starry vocal performances of lyrical artists such as Luca Pisaroni – Don Giovanni (bass-baritone), Sylvia Schwartz – Donna Anna (soprano), Olga Bezsmertna – Donna Elvira (soprano), Patrick Grahl – Don Ottavio (tenor), Giulia Semenzato – Zerlina (soprano), Alex Esposito – Leporello (baritone) and David Soar – Il Commendatore, Masetto (bass-baritone).
The Basel Chamber Orchestra (KOB – Kammerorchester Basel) was founded in 1984, consisting of graduates of various Swiss conservatories. The structure of the Orchestra is unusual, in the sense that there is no principal conductor to impose artistic control in the design and implementation of programs. It is currently listed as one of the most famous European chamber orchestras. The Orchestra performs over 90 concerts a year and is frequently invited to renowned concert halls in London, Amsterdam, Cologne, Berlin, Zurich, Munich, Vienna, Valencia, and Paris. KOB collaborates with internationally renowned conductors, including Giovanni Antonini, David Stern, Paul McCreesh, Kristjan Järvi, Paul Goodwin, Philippe Herreweghe and with soloists such as Cecilia Bartoli, Magdalena Kožená, Emma Kirkby, Jennifer Larmore, Andreas Scholl, Christian Tetzlaff, Julia Fischer, Daniel Hope, Matthias Goerne, Angelika Kirchschlager, Tabea Zimmermann, and Renaud Capuçon. The KOB discography includes the recording of the complete symphonies of Beethoven, under the leadership of Giovanni Antonini. The orchestra has a long-term collaboration with Sony BMG, among the records being the album recordings with Angelika Kirchschlager, Marijana Mijanovic, Núria Rial, and Lawrence Zazzo, versions of the Riccardo primo opera and Concerti Grossi by Georg Friedrich Händel.
Italian conductor Giovanni Antonini (b. 1965) has musical studies (in conducting and baroque transversal flute) in Milan, his hometown, and at the Center for Early Music in Geneva, and is the co-founder – together with Luca Pianca – of Il Giardino Armonico, a pioneer ensemble of Italian early music, for which he received the Gramophone, Diapason d’Or, and Choc du Monde de la Musique awards. His opera productions have included Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Handel’s Alcina at Teatro alla Scala in Milano and Opernhaus Zurich, Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Bellini’s Norma with Cecilia Bartoli at Salzburg Festival. Antonini has collaborated with musicians such as Christoph Prégardien, Christophe Coin, Katia and Marielle Labèque, Viktoria Mullova, and Giuliano Carmignola. Giovanni Antonini is the artistic director of the Haydn 2032 project, created to realize a vision to record and perform with Il Giardino Armonico and Kammerorchester Basel, the complete symphonies of Joseph Haydn by the 300th anniversary of the composer’s birth. He has been collaborating regularly with the Basel Chamber Orchestra for over 15 years.