Don Giovanni

The Metropolitan Opera on Friday, October 10.

There’s been a lot of talk about opera companies taking looks as well as vocal abilities into account when making casting decisions. Our collective fixations being what they are, the talk tends to focus on women and their weight, but if we must obsess about the issue, we probably should broaden the conversation. I know I couldn’t help notice that while the female leads in the Met’s Don Giovanni were extraordinary, Don Juan himself was only okay—at least when it came to the arias. He rocked a Harlequin-style mane and torso to convincing effect.

I don’t want to overstate the case. Erwin Schrott was fine, but in comparison to Susan Graham (Donna Elvira) and especially Krassimira Stoyanova (Donna Anna), his projection was inadequate and his musicality lackluster. Nonetheless, he gave an entertaining performance, not just looking the part but acting it quite well. Aside from his hammy closing scene, he was the finest actor on stage by a wide margin, so more than anything else, this Don Giovanni impressed upon me how difficult it is to find an outstanding actor and an outstanding singer together in a single outstanding package.