Mozart’s Don Giovanni offers opera companies the dilemma of being many people’s avowed favourite. This popularity brings audiences in, but also leaves room for critical expectations. Last night, State Opera met, and in some areas exceeded, those critical expectations.
Taking what was originally an Opera Australia production, Rehearsal Director Julie Edwardson, and conductor Graham Abbot, built on this solid framework to make a production that was pure State Opera.
Pivotal to this was the casting of Grant Doyle in the eponymous role, perhaps the most coveted in the baritone canon. Doyle was in fine voice, giving a sensual and strong performance. As his comedic off-sider, Leporello, Douglas McNicol was spot-on, as he inevitably is. It is no wonder this has become his signature role. He is a stalwart of opera in Australia and a regular performer with State Opera. He and Doyle worked beautifully together at the centre of this production.
Sharon Prero and Teresa La Rocca sang Donna Anna and Donna Elvira, respectively. Both gave exquisite vocal performances, although La Rocca appeared to be lacking a bit of puff in her lower register, at least in the first half.
In the small, but oddly huge, role of Commendatore, was Steven Gallop, whose rich bass added power to the final scenes. Virgilio Marino as Don Ottavio, Gisele Blanchard as Zerlina and Jeremy Tatchell as Masetto, all proved themselves as performers up to the opera double-challenge: sing brilliantly and act well.
Ably supported by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, including an on-stage band, and a small, but energetic State Opera Chorus, this is a production of “The Don” that can stand with the best.
Artistic Director Timothy Sexton spoke of Don Giovanni as being the show that can tip the opera agnostics over into being believers; and this version is certainly capable of recruiting some more for the good cause.
With great performers, a dark and sensual story-line and an extraordinary production design, this is a State Opera production which will be remembered for many years.
Don’t miss out.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Venue: Adelaide Festival Theatre Adelaide Festival Centre, Adelaide
Season: 26, 28, 30 May 2015
Duration: 3 hours including a 20 minute interval
Tickets: From $45.00
Bookings: BASS http://www.bass.net.au/