Monday, 23 January 2012

Don Giovanni, Royal Opera

A revival of Francesca Zambello's production of a decade. It looks rather like this:

The age shows in no other way than the natural drift of the purpose of the population on stage and the mute spirit of the original conception buried within. I rather enjoyed it although the abstraction pulls hard at the seams of reality, not least in the Act 1 finale where the party descends into farce as the peasant chorus semm to not have noticed that the wall-to-wall mural is a trompe d'oeil. It's all just a little peculiar.

The singing isn't entirely uniform either. The best comes from Finley as the Don who is on top of every single note, even when he appears to be shouting. Beside him is Hibla Gerzmava's Donna Anna whose apparently effortless artistry only exposes its mechanics in the coloratura of Non mi dir. Katerina Karneus is a super comic stage presence but I missed a little opulence of sound - and similarly for Lorenzo Ragazzo's Leporello (for both, a hair-splitting privation). In this testosteroney show there were some big barrelled voices on stage, Marco Spotti's Commendatore projecting out into the auditorium without hectoring. Most entertaining was Adam Plachetka's Masetto who caused the women of a certain age beside me to chirrup audibly. Matthew Polenzani sang Ottavio well and dared to try a super quiet piano in the recap of Dalla sua pace.

Down in the pit Constantinos Carydis was very much in control, although one wished his grip would relax just a mite: a scampering overture followed by a drunken barn dance for the wedding party was probably the wrong way round (and so it continued). This is an entertaining show though, not least through Maria Björnson's design's, and I enjoyed my evening in the theatre.

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