Don Giovanni, is opera’s great anti-hero. A man without scruples; a seducer and deceiver; this evil thrill seekers cares very little about the disastrous consequences of his hedonistic quest for pleasure and amusement - Not unlike your Canal Street Correspondent!!. But then his infatuated conquests, vengeful victims and their outraged relatives join forces in a bid for justice.
Opera North’s first Don Giovanni for seven years sees the return of critically acclaimed director Alessandro Talevi. Don Giovanni is a notoriously hard opera to direct but Alessandro Talevi makes a fair attempt. It is fair to say that the production takes some time to get going, but the “romping” Don is in full swing by the Supper Scene.
Most opera directors make an impression by thinking big. Talevi does the opposite, cleverly and skilfully confining his performers to a picture frame creating nothing less than a “Punch and Judy” effect, which really brings out the comedy in the piece.
There are snippets of Vaudville, choreographed interaction between William Dazeley's Don Giovanni and Alastair Miles's Leporello. Vocally, Dazeley's voice is pronounced and carries well. Miles's tone suits the character, a little more rugged, bringing out the comedy and sarcasm to good effect.
Madeleine Boyd's design was at first confusing, particularly the mix of eras. Why are Masetto's gang Teddy Boys (Canal Street Correspondent = Confused.Com). Elizabeth Atherton (dressed as Madonna) gave a fine and sparky performance as Elvira. Meeta Raval's Donna Anna portrayed her character with pathos (While sporting Victorian mourning dress). Claire Wild as a bobby-socked Zerlina was a comedy highlight.
There isn’t much for the Chorus, but what they sang, they sang with gusto. The Opera North orchestra took a little time to warm up but once in got into its stride did justice to one of Mozart’s best known operatic works.
Don Giovanni, Opera North, Lowry Theatre, Wed 7 November - Sat 10 November
Published: 12-Nov-2012 (1613)