TV & Radio
Mozart's Don Giovanni Is Bisexual Manager in Paris (Update1)
(The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Bloomberg.)
By Jorg von Uthmann
Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- If the Theater of the Absurd didn't exist already, Michael Haneke would have invented it with his production of Mozart's ``Don Giovanni'' for the Paris Opera.
The 63-year-old film maker, born in Munich but Austrian, is one of the few internationally acclaimed German-language directors though his best-known movies tend to be co- productions in other languages. His ``The Piano Teacher'' (2000) and ``Cache,'' or ``Hidden,'' (2005) won prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.
Haneke's films have a well-deserved reputation for violence and twisted sex, which is probably why Gerard Mortier, the director of the Paris opera, hired him. ``Don Giovanni'' (1787) is Haneke's first opera production.
There is, of course, plenty of violence and twisted sex in Mozart's work, and Haneke delivers what was expected from him. The problem lies elsewhere.
When the curtain goes up, you grasp right away that the stunning decor (Christoph Kanter) is the only one you are going to get. Haneke has dealt with the key challenge of the opera -- the many scene changes -- by sweeping it away. Everything happens in the hallway of an office tower.
The Commendatore (Robert Lloyd), Haneke suggests in the program, is the head of a corporation. Anna (Christine Schafer) is a junior director, Giovanni (Peter Mattei) a young manager, Leporello (Luca Pisaroni) his assistant and so on. Masetto and Zerlina belong to the cleaning staff.
This Giovanni lusts not only after the ladies, he's also after his assistant. He kisses Leporello frequently and grabs his crotch. Didn't we know there was something fishy about the compulsive skirt-chaser?
So, how does Haneke explain that Zerlina and Masetto are holding their engagement celebration in a corridor? Why doesn't Anna recognize the man she just had sex with in her office? And how can Don Giovanni invite the statue if the Commendatore hasn't been buried yet, because everything, as the director insists, is happening in the same night?
Well, says the program, the celebration is just an informal hoedown for a bored nightshift staff. Anna, we are told, does recognize her suitor yet is too ashamed to admit it. The ``statua gentilissima'' is absent without explanation, and also has been deleted from the surtitles.
The tortuous attempt to make the old story ``relevant'' for a modern audience would be easier to accept if the result were not so dull. The director seems to have overlooked the second part of the title of the libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte -- ``dramma giocoso.'' There is nothing joking about his heavy-handed updating.
Nor is the musical side so lively. After an aggressive overture, Sylvain Cambreling accompanies the singers in a gray, businesslike fashion.
Mattei and Pisaroni are by far the best of the lot. Both have a compelling stage presence and vocal charisma. Ottavio (Shawn Mathey) is technically accomplished though stiff.
The ladies are weaker. Schafer sounds tired, although she manages a decent ``Or sai chi l'onore.'' Elvira (Mireille Delunsch) is on the shrill side and Zerlina (Aleksandra Zamojska) falls short on charm.
``Don Giovanni'' runs through Feb. 25 at the Palais Garnier in Paris.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Jorg von Uthmann at email@example.com.
Last Updated: February 2, 2006 06:49 EST
Il dissoluto punito ossia Il Don Giovanni
Wolfgang Amadé Mozart (1756-1791)
Last Updated: Thursday, 2 February 2006, 07:43 GMT
Oaten 'wants to continue as MP' - BBC
Mark Oaten hopes to continue as a Liberal Democrat MP despite his involvement in a sex scandal.
In his first interview since newspaper revelations of an affair with a male prostitute, father-of-two Mr Oaten said his priority was to save his marriage.
The Winchester MP, a former Lib Dem leadership hopeful, told the Hampshire Chronicle he was heartened by messages of support from all over the country.
Mr Oaten, 41, resigned as the party's home affairs spokesman last month.
The News of the World revealed he had a relationship with a 23-year-old male prostitute.
The scandal came shortly after Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy admitted he had been an alcoholic and resigned his post.
Understand and forgive
Last week Simon Hughes, the party's chairman and leadership contender, said Mr Oaten still had a future in Parliament.
Mr Hughes said: "He's stood down from the front bench - that is the price he's paid. I don't think it follows that you stand down as an MP.
"If you look back in history, many people have given up office but they have continued to serve their constituents very well."
Mr Hughes said he hoped people would understand and forgive Mr Oaten.
Chris Huhne and Sir Menzies Campbell are the other MPs competing to be the party's new leader.
モーツァルトの効果実証へ 2事業所でストレス調査 (日本海新聞 2006/02/02)
Wed Feb 1, 2006 12:41 PM ET
By Axel Bugge
LISBON (Reuters) - Two Portuguese women tried to get married on Wednesday and take advantage of a discrepancy in the law to highlight homosexual rights in this conservative country.
The two women, holding hands as they became the first homosexuals to try to register their marriage in Portugal, expected to be turned down but said they had already presented an appeal in the courts.
"Our desire to get married is just as strong as heterosexual couples," Teresa Pires, 28, told reporters as she left the public registration office where she and her partner had chosen to register their marriage.
"We want to get married in our country, we are Portuguese," she said. Portugal is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.
The couple is basing their case on Portugal's 1975 constitution, which bans sexual discrimination, arguing that two women have the same right to marry as a man and a woman. Portugal's civil code, however, bans same-sex marriages.
The couple will receive the formal response to their marriage request on Thursday but the women's lawyer, Luis Grave Rodrigues, said he was sure they would be denied.
Neighboring Spain allowed homosexual marriages last year, joining a number of European countries, such as the Netherlands and Belgium.
"I think Portugal is not ready for this," said Francisco Sarsfield Cabral, a commentator and editor at Radio Renascenca, which is owned by the Catholic Church and is Portugal's largest radio station.
Parliament's left-wing opposition bloc on Wednesday presented a motion to legalize homosexual marriages. The ruling Socialist Party, which has a majority in parliament, has not adopted a position on the issue.
Sarsfield Cabral said Portugal is tolerant of homosexuals. "I think that people here are very tolerant of different ways of living, but changing the law is different," he said.
［リスボン １日 ロイター］ 同性愛のポルトガル人女性２人が、婚姻届を提出した。
Portugal Nixes Gay Marriage Bid
by Malcolm Thornberry, 365Gay.com European Bureau Chief
Posted: February 2, 2006 - 3:00 pm ET
(Lisbon) As expected Portuguese lesbian couple has been turned down for a marriage license.
Helena Paixao, 35, and Teresa Pires, 28, were told Thursday that Portuguese law bars same-couples from marrying.
The women submitted their application for a license Wednesday under the glare of television news cameras.. (story) becoming the first same-sex couple in the country to try to marry.
Paixao and Pires were expecting to be rejected and are already planning legal action.
Their attorney, expects to file suit possibly as soon as Friday.
Lawyer Luis Grave Rodrigues, said yesterday that he already has prepared his arguments for a legal challenge. He said that it will be based on Portugal's 1975 constitution, which bans sexual discrimination.
Portugal's Socialist government has said that it does not intend to change the law. But if the courts agree with Rodrigues the law would be overturned.
Portugal has a law that allows gay couples some legal, tax and property rights.
Same-sex marriage is legal in neighboring Spain, and in Belgium and The Netherlands. In North America, Canada and the state of Massachusetts permit same-sex marriage. A court in South Africa recently told the government it must amend its laws to allow gay marriage.