Don Giovanni

May 31, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Opera, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS | 0 Comments |

"Tu a cenar meco?" (Painting by Fragonard; image by Rama)

(State Opera SA, 30 May 2015)

TVC had only seen the disastrous ENO production but not this version which originally featured Teddy Tahu Rhodes as the Don.  What a relief to find staging and performances generally faithful to the 1787 work; in fact, superb staging, a simple hall, doubling as a courtyard, bounded by masonry with balconies (which, unfortunately, wobbled a little) but the simplicity of this setting, varied by good use of lighting, emphasized the pyrotechnics of the finale when the far wall collapsed to admit the Commendatore’s statue and a team of demons ferry the Don to the infernal regions (or perhaps only Toledo).

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra conducted by Graham Abbott was spot on, not draining the music from the notes.  Mozart gives substantial space and musical character to numerous roles, and this night, everyone was fine.  As Don Giovanni, Grant Doyle was terrific (Nicholas Braithwaite had told the Richard Wagner Society a few days ago that he was wonderful in the role); Douglas McNicol broad and amusing as Leporello; Teresa La Rocca appropriately miffed and wistful as Donna Elvira; Gisele Blanchard sweet as Zerlina; Jeremy Tatchell stout as Masetto; Steven Gallop impressive as the Man of Marble, and a standout as the bereft couple were Sharon Prero as Donna Anna and Virgilio Marino as the unrequited Don Ottavio.


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