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Don Giovanni/Glyndebourne

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s  Don Giovanni purports to be opera buffa (light comic opera) but there is a dark side: the killing of the Commendatore, father of Don Giovanni’s (Amdrey Zhilikovsky) latest quest Donna Anna (Venera Gimlieva), and the predatory nature of Don Giovanni himself.

The director Marianne Clément majors on the latter in her somewhat weird  production.

The setting is a multi-roomed house which resembles more an upmarket brothel than a palace.

Key scenes like the countryside – where the spirited peasant girl Zerlina (Victoria Randem) also on Don Giovanni’s radar – and Musetto  (Michael Mofanian) celebrate their wedding are ignored, as is the graveyard of the Commemdatore who has morphed into a statue.

There are some successes: an amusing Leperello (Mikhail Timoshenko), the servant of Don Giovanni, who is fed up being a dogsbody and Ottavio (Oleksiy Palchykov), the betrothed of Donna Anna who is seeking to avenge the death of the Comendatore.

I found the singing of Donna Elvira (Rizan Mantashyan), another target for Don Giovanni, too shrill.

The ‘costumes’ of electro-blue for the male wedding party of Zerlina and Musuetto made them look like game show hosts and I doubt if 18th century  people from Seville wore jeans and t-shirts, as the female guests did.

Above there is the wondrous music and compositions of that genius Mozart. Don Giovanni gets the best arias.

The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Glyndebourne Chorus also performed admirably.

The performance started 15 minutes late due to problems of staging.

When you are paying £245 a ticket this is not good enough. I was pleased that in temperatures of 27 degrees the dress code was relaxed.

Glyndebourne is expensive, high end, country house opera.

A couple visiting and dining there would have little change from £1,000 and the cuisine in the Over Wallop restaurant was expensively pretentious.

If it was not so close to my home – I was back by 10 o’clock – I might try another country house venue like The Grange.

One final point: the cast was drawn from Russia and Ukraine.

On the night when the Putin régime was on the verge of collapse I would not have minded being a fly on the wall in the dressing room.

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About Michael Stuart

After university, Michael spent twelve years working for MELODY MAKER before going freelance. He claims to keep doing it because it is all he knows. More Posts