We saw Io, Don Giovanni (2009) at a gala opening at the Roy Thompson Hall at TIFF. It is the story of Mozart’s lyricist, Lorenzo da Ponte, and in particular their collaboration on Don Giovanni.
Lorenzo was born in the republic of Venice and was friends with Casanova there. Though a priest, Lorenzo was a libertine and his love of liberty brought him into odds with the Venetian Inquisition and Lorenzo was exiled. Casanova gave him a letter of introduction to Salieri in Vienna but he ended up paired with the upstart Mozart by the Austrian Emperor Joseph II and so the two collaborated on the opera that would chronicle Casanova’s life.
The movie works very well. The music is woven into the story and livens it, the acting is excellent. The cinematography is excellent, the movie is shot as if on the set of an opera using painted sets and scrims and brings engravings to life in a way that effectively blurs the boundaries between the opera being performed and the story of its creation.