Festival Theatre, Tue 26 May.
You don’t need to be a fan of either Mozart or opera music to be completely captivated by State Opera SA’s Don Giovanni. In fact if you have never experienced opera before – Italian or otherwise, then this is perhaps the world’s best introduction into the world of classical music and operatic theatre. Regarded as one of Mozart’s best loved masterpieces; both the score and the libretto work together to create a truly mesmerising experience.
Adelaide-raised Grant Doyle is absolutely superb as the womanising, morally bankrupt Don Giovanni, cutting a debonair swathe across the stage, alternately ‘loving’ and leaving a myriad of maidens in his wake. He is at once rakishly attractive yet also darkly despicable – creating a quandary of sorts – you can’t help but connect with the character, all the while abhorring his many dastardly deeds. Doyle is able to easily portray these elements, his acting and rich baritone performance keeping all eyes firmly on Giovanni’s antics.
As Giovanni’s Valet Leporello, Douglas McNicol is a perfect foil for his master’s schemes and provides much of the comedic entertainment within the program. Soprano Sharon Prero’s voice was stunning, playing the character of Donna Anna and lamenting Giovanni’s murder of her father (strongly played by Steven Gallop) when he interrupts their dalliance. As Giovanni’s jilted wife, Donna Elvira, Teresa La Rocca’s beautiful soprano voice filled the theatre, the role also allowing her to showcase her fine comedic talents to great effect. Virgilio Marino was suitably outraged as Anna’s intended, Don Ottavio, and other cast members including Gisele Blanchard and Jeremy Tatchell were a joy to watch as they alternately resisted and relented the spell cast upon them by the force of Giovanni’s deviant personality.
A single set remained throughout both acts – gloriously opulent pillars creating an avenue of marble cleverly lit through windows to denote changes of time and place throughout the story. The fact that the set itself becomes part of the finale as Giovanni is snatched by demons and dragged into the bowels of hell is a wonderful example of inspired design. Can’t speak Italian? The beauty of the music provided by the State Opera Chorus and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, led by Graham Abbott, combined with the talents and skills of this amazing, mostly South Australian cast will ensure that language is no barrier. Don Giovanni is a wonderful introduction into the world of opera, surtitles discreetly provided above the stage ensuring the story is accessible to all. Frankly, you will become so immersed in the action onstage that reading the English translation is not as important as one might imagine.
Rosie van Heerde
Don Giovanni continues at Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, until Sat 30 May.
Book at BASS on 131 241 an bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Darren Williams