“Wine and Women are the Glory of the World” – Don Giovanni – Royal Opera House – Review

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My opera education continued this weekend with a visit to see Don Giovanni. The tickets were bought as a present for my wife at xmas, she asked if I knew what Don Giovanni was about, “no” I sheepishly replied. A wry smile appeared on her lips and she explained. I’m glad I’d not got them as a Valentines present!

We follow Don Giovanni during a 24 hour period as he seduces his way through several women (adding to his considerable lists which he keeps in numerous notebooks, over 1000 sexual conquests in Spain alone!). One of the women happens to be a bride on her wedding day, the bridegroom is not too happy about this as you can imagine. As he wriggles his way out of the mess he’s got himself in he get his just deserts and is taken down into hades.

The score contains many beautiful moments, especially the arias that Donna Anna, Don Ottavio and Donna Elvira sing. These were played by Carmela Remigo, Pavol Breslik and Ruxandra Donose. Their voices were amazing and their characterisation very strong as they sought out the cad of Don Giovanni. The set for this production was sparse (perhaps a little too sparse for the cavernous ROH stage), which heightened our focus on to the characters and their acting and singing. They were brilliant and we were drawn in to their struggles and passions which is no mean feat in the vast Royal Opera House. Their gorgeous velvet costumes in black, blue and purple I especially liked as it accentuated these characters.

Erwin Schrott was a ravishing, rampant and powerful Don Giovanni, even trying to chat up an audience member at one point of the opera, which was a nice touch. Somehow Erwin Schrott manages to make us like Don Giovanni, he is a total anti-hero, but you can’t help but like him.

This show however is one of those where the comic role can actually “steal the show”, and Alex Esposito as the witty sidekick Leporello, did just that. his comic timing was impeccable, his physical humour perfect and what an lovely voice too.

The star of the show for me - Leporello

The finale of Don Giovanni being taken to the furnaces of Hades was a dramatic ending, we could feel the heat of the flames up in the amphitheatre, they must have roasted on stage.

The fine Royal Opera House Orchestra conducted by Constantionos Carydis carried us along this journey with their perfect playing, they are fast becoming my favourite orchestra.

So another great trip to the Royal Opera House, my knowledge is expanding and I can’t wait for my next visit.

STARS : * * * *

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