Oops, I guess I just gave away the ending. Not to my life, I hope. But to the Mozart opera, Don Giovanni.
On a recommendation from Zerlina, who posts on Slow Travel and is obviously an opera buff (Zerlina being the name of one of Mozart's characters in this opera!) I recently ordered the DVD of the 1979 Paris Opera film production of Don Giovanni.
Even if you're not a fan of opera, or a fan of Mozart, this is a remarkably beautiful production. It's filmed in Venice, and in and around a 16th-century Palladio villa near Vicenza in northern Italy. So the setting is extraordinarily lovely to look at, and the period costumes add to the glamour. (Close-ups of opera singers is a bit disconcerting, since I'm used to seeing them on stage, a safe distance away!)
I actually love this opera, I'm a Mozart fan to begin with and saw what I thought was a very good production of Don Giovanni last fall at Ottawa's National Arts Centre. And often a live production is so much more vibrant and, well, alive than a film version.
But for sheer spectacle, this film version is very good. I've only had time to watch about half of Don Giovanni so far. But that's a great thing about Zip.ca, the DVD rental service I subscribe to. I can keep any DVD as long as I wish; I just won't get a replacement until I send this one back. And the particular subscription I have allows me four DVDs at a time.
For people who aren't opera fans, this one isn't a bad entre in that the story line is fairly simple. Even I can understand it! The story of Don Giovanni, or Don Juan, as he is known in many legends, is a classic tale of an unrepentant rake who burns through women (and abuses their fathers and other menfolk) until he finally meets his just end. Or, as the chorus says in delivering the moral of the story: "So ends he who evil did. The death of a sinner always reflects his life."
This DVD includes the Paris Opera Orchestra with Lorin Maazel conducting, and features Ruggero Raimondi and Kiri Te Kanawa in the starring roles. BTW, Lorin Maazel has been in the news this week when the 77-year-old chief conductor of the New York Philharmonic took his orchestra to North Korean for a landmark performance there.