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Timmie

Don Giovanni ROH 2018

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I started my comments on this in my ‘First Operas’ thread. This was only my second opera so take my comments with that in mind.

The easiest place to start is the set. A large rotating cube over two levels with two or three internal staircases and a number of rooms and balconies. The cube rotates to provide the different backdrops. It was stationary a lot but also frequently slowly rotated during the action which initially seemed clever but by the second act was a bit nauseating. Lots of projections as well, some good and effective but also a bit excessive at times.

The opera opened with lots of projected writing onto the cube which I initially thought was the cast and crew as in the credits to a film… then the penny dropped (a list of DG’s conquests). Overall I liked the production and heard other favourable comments in the interval.

They could’ve used the projected writing to tell us where each scene was set as I got a bit confused where we were meant to be at times… Probably not important.

I loved all the singing, all the leads had some wonderful solos to perform though only one I recognised. One thing I did notice was that the tone of their voices did seem to noticeably change when they were upstairs versus downstairs out on the open stage. I preferred the open stage tone. I think I liked Zerlina’s (Chen Reiss) two major solos the best, though Donna Anna’s (Rachel Willis-Sørensen) final solo was mesmerising and I was still so entranced after that one that I completely missed why Leporello (Ildebrando D'Arcangelo) suddenly turned into Data from Star Trek. Presumably he died for some reason? The ‘bonkers brilliant’ comment I made elsewhere refers to the final act when everyone is singing different refrains at the same time and then Don G’s (Mariusz Kwiecień) final anguished solo. It all left my head spinning in a good way.

Amazing to see and hear Willard W. White as the Commendatore, one of the few opera singers I have heard of (sorry).

Overall a wonderful second opera, though operas are awful long aren’t they? 95 minutes then 85 minutes in an Amphi seat left my posterior a bit numb! I’m used to ballet where 60 mins is long.

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