[Marxism] Mozart, Da Ponte, revolution

Jacob Levich jlevich at earthlink.net
Fri Apr 14 19:37:54 MDT 2006

Thanks to all for the information and refs. I'll be off to the library 

It's been years since I've seen it but I vaguely recall Joseph Losey's 
explicitly Marxist film of Don Giovanni, an against-the-grain approach that 
doesn't quite work. The Don is not the usual rakish antihero but a dour and 
grimly exploitative landlord; Masetto is a sort of working-class hero 
instead of a clown. I saw this with an audience of wealthy dowagers at a 
fancy Manhattan theater -- I think it was The Paris, right next to the Plaza 
Hotel. What Losey was trying to do went completely over their heads. I 
remember them ooh-ing an aah-ing over Jose Van Dam like a pop singer.

I have similarly vague memories of an excellent mid-80s television film of 
the Marriage of Figaro . It's set in the Trump Tower with The Donald as 
Count Almaviva; Figaro is his driver. Cherubino is an androgynous teenaged 
punk with short spiky hair, so the gender-bending stuff works very well. 
This must have been the Peter Sellars version -- whatever it was, it was 
absolutely terrific.


 >>>Don Giovanni and the Marriage of Figaro which
are the most consciously anti-aristocratic works. Even though Don
Giovanni--i.e., Don Juan--is hunted down by other aristocrats for seducing
and abandoning their women, the point of view is of the outsider in court
society who would look at all their escapades as having a decadent

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