Don Giovanni - Opera North

MICHAEL DRAKE Norwich Theatre Royal


Fast forward a few centuries from Mozart's conception of Seville to the Spain of the 1930s and you have the setting for this new production by Olivia Fuchs.

But the first impression was made by the orchestra conducted by Alistair Dawes with a foreboding overture. It is certainly a sexy production as Giovanni pursues his seductions, often with a knife at the ready, appearing as a bit of a smoothie rather than a rake. The language is mostly what might be called 'contemporary' but the outcomes are the same and you really expect him to say "Moi? Certainly not."

It is an emotional production too, even with some stylised movements, but it is performed by a cast of high-class singers and in that respect I will not list the names - not for want of space but because each is as vocally deserving of plaudits as the others and they are collectively a really vocal team.

Frankly the supposed civil war setting added little and certainly little of the politics of that period.

The one set, basically long ladders and a stage-wide gangway, in my view became a bit of a bore to look at - except for a colourful masked ball at the end of the first half and the final spectacular 'damnation' scene.

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Vengeance is reaped with no repentance or forgiveness given and in the ultimate this is a hell of a show.

Michael Drake

Tonight's production is Kurt Weill's One Touch of Venus. Don Giovanni is repeated on Saturday.