Since the Met isn’t doing any full-length Mozart this season, Chris’s Cache fills the void with a classic Chicago Lyric Don Giovanni I attended a “few” years ago with Vaness, Karita Mattila, Marie McLaughlin, Gösta Winbergh, Samuel Ramey, and Claudio Desderi, conducted by Semyon Bychkov.

During the late 1980s I traveled to Chicago three years in a row for Lyric’s top-flight Mozart productions. The 1986-87 season opened with August Everding’s classic Die Zauberflöte conducted by Leonard Slatkin. Lucia Popp was to have been Pamina but she withdrew and instead we got Judith Blegen, along with Luciana Serra, Francisco Araiza, Timothy Nolen, Matti Salminen, and Thomas Stewart.

The next year Peter Hall recreated his famed Glyndebourne Le Nozze di Figaro with Felicity Lott, Maria Ewing, Frederica von Stade, Patricia Kern, Samuel Ramey, Thomas Allen, Artur Korn, Ugo Benelli, and Andrew Davis conducting. After Ewing’s death in early 2022, Trove Thursday posted a broadcast of that marvelous team.

My final (to date) Chicago Lyric Mozart was today’s Don Giovanni in the riveting Jean-Pierre Ponnelle production with everyone in top form. One wonders why it never came to the Met, particularly when two years later the company instead presented Franco Zeffirelli’s shallow, decorative version.

Mozart: Don Giovanni

Donna Anna: Carol Vaness
Donna Elvira: Karita Mattila
Zerlina: Marie McLaughlin
Don Ottavio: Gosta Winbergh
Don Giovanni: Samuel Ramey
Leporello: Claudio Desderi
Masetto: Richard Cowan
Commendatore: John Macurdy

Conductor: Semyon Bychkov
Lyric Opera of Chicago
12 November 1988

Two more starry DGs remain available for listening or downloading: Georg Solti’s 1975 Paris Opéra production with Margaret Price, Kiri Te Kanawa, Jane Berbiè, Stuart Burrows, Roger Soyer, and José van Dam, as well as another version from Paris led by Jeffrey Tate with Cheryl Studer, Gundula Janowitz, Krisztina Laki, Winbergh again, Hermann Prey, and Malcolm King.

Each Mozart opera can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

Never miss an episode of Chris’s Cache! Subscribe to this podcast via Apple Podcasts or RSS.