MICHAEL DRAKE Mannington Hall
The Garden Opera Company present their shows in such an approachable fashion that an audience feels almost part of the story – and all in your back garden, as it were. Well, the walled garden at Mannington Hall doubles as somewhere in Seville.
It's a bit better than your ordinary patch of lawn, but that perhaps is as far as real life should go, for Don Giovanni, better known as the womanising Don Juan, doesn't set a fine example of good living.
On the Festival Fringe, it was at the leading edge of entertainment, although this production often went over the edge and became rather too far removed from its “classical beginnings”.
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Martin Lloyd-Evans' direction had its moments, but use of the vernacular was rather overdone. Sung in English, there was a strong performance from soprano Catherine Hegarty as Donna Anna. While her fiancé Don Ottavio (Alexander Anderson-Hall) possesses a lyrical tenor voice, the pair were physically ill-suited.
The Don's portrayal by Ian Jervis assumed the cloak of an American gangster in somewhat disturbing popular vocal style, with his sidekick, Leporello (Peter Grant), a Scottish hard-man giving a likeable performance.
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A string/wind ensemble augmented the piano in Mozart's music often with dramatic effect. But in my book, this was not one of the GO's most creditable productions.