REVIEW: Don Giovanni, Opera North, Leeds Grand Theatre
By the interval, I was baffled. What were 1950s' Teds doing at a party held by a 17th century libertine? Why was Leporello sporting a straw boater?
It took a long drive home to see where director Alessandro Talevi was going with his interpretationof Mozart’s work.
His production is a mash-up of commedia dell’arte absurdity, music hall ribaldry and #MeToo moral scrutiny as the Don stands accused of being the progenitor of Harvey Weinstein.
The sixes and sevens time shifts suggest that his avatars pervade the history of sexual relations.
OK, so what about the music?
Whatever directors do with Mozart, we are still left with an opera packed with great melodies that demands exceptional singers to do them justice.
William Dazeley as the Don lacks the charisma necessary to convince us he is a world class Lothario and he is up against the superb comic acting and fine bass baritone voice of John Savornin as Leporello.
I have always felt that the female victims (Jennifer Davis as Donna Anna; Elizabeth Atherton as Donna Elvira; Kathryn Rudge as Zerlina) are far too strong to be taken in by Giovanni’s obvious wiles, but this is theatre and we must suspend disbelief.
All three sing well, but the pick is Jennifer Davis’ soprano in arias such as Troppo mi spiace.
This revival of the 2012 production may not be a sure-fire Opera North hit, but it is an intriguing evening in the theatre.
Don Giovanni continues at The Leeds Grand until March 23 and touring to Salford, Nottingham and Newcastle.
It is part of a season which has included Verdi’s A Masked Ball and Puccini’s Madam Butterfly
Opera North returns to Leeds Grand Theatre with Salome by Richard Strauss which is on from April 19 to May 16.
Tickets are available from the Leeds Grand Theatre box office on 0844 848 2700.
Alternatively you can book on line at www.leedsgrandtheatre.com