I actually groaned when I saw that mud-colored set; this entire new production was nothing special, IMO. I did wonder why Giovanni and Leporello kept wrestling each other. A sexual connotation? But it made them look like a team of equals instead of aristocrat and servant. Perhaps that was the point -- but why? (The most physical contact Ezio Pinza and Salvatore Baccaloni ever had came in one performance when Pinza got fed up with Baccaloni's scene-stealing antics and hit him over the head with an umbrella.) In the long run, however, it didn't really matter; the music was enough. The finale is always chilling, and this one nailed it.
Austin, you might like the Joseph Losey version of the opera. It's a movie, not a filmed stage performance, and it's absolutely beautiful to look at. Ruggero Raimondi sings the title role, and his Giovanni is not a carefree, romantic figure but a man obsessed. The film gradually builds up this atmosphere of...well, not evil, exactly, but more one of unwholesomeness. There's something terribly wrong with a man who is unable to veer from the path that's leading him straight to Hell in spite of all the warnings he receives. The inevitability of the coming ending is so strong that when it does come, it's a relief.