Wednesday, 10 September 2008
HOT: Don Giovanni, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
I had a patchy response to this production of Don Giovanni. On the one hand, Marina Poplavskaya's Donna Anna held a admirably warm tone given her respiratory infection, Miah Persoon's Zerlina was lithe and charming (and in my view had the best melodies) and Joyce DiDonato's had sung beautifully, holding delicate high notes, as Donna Elvira. Simon Keenlyside (who I enjoyed so much as Papageno) was appropriately louche and arrogant as the degenerate Don Giovanni, and there was great energy with his cheeky servant Leporello, sung by Kyle Ketelsen. My favourite part was the finale, with the thrillingly spooky fires of hell and the Commendatore's booming, ominous bass. On the other hand, I wasn't impressed by Ramon Vargas as Don Ottavio - I thought his voice sounded a bit reedy and without a solid foundation to round off the sound. I really disliked the set, which reminded me of the frosted glass walls of a public pool in a semi-circle shape. Finally, there is a black hole in the action and the music in the middle of the second Act which did little for my concentration, except for a witty reference to Le Nozze di Figaro.