Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Zealand Opera Explores The Seediest Side Of "Don Giovanni"

"Almost done with this pole dance, but first....let me take a selfie"
(Photo: Stacy Squires/Fairfax)
"New Zealand Opera's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni opened its Auckland season on Thursday and had already courted a little bit of controversy as to its staging. Not the stuffy, fusty 18th Century costumes and street scenes for this production directed by Sara Brodie. Rather, the setting is in a seedy, dingy Spanish nightclub, completely devoid of any sophistication whatsoever. There are poledancers and a DJ in residence and smartphones, and selfies are taken. Apparently, there's some substance abuse as well although I have to say I missed that. But you get the idea. Not surprisingly, this has detracted from the other, arguably more important elements. How's the music, for starters? Were there any sacrifices made to the plot or libretto to accommodate the setting? And was it any good at all? The good news is that the music is good and it is a pretty decent production. While some might argue that some of the traditional elements to the story are reworked to suit the setting, the sets, created by designer John Verryt, are dynamic and up to the usual high standard we have become
Hell Hath No Fury: Anna Leese stars as Donna Elvira
(Photo: Mark Stone)
accustomed to with a New Zealand Opera production. NZO's music director Wyn Davies and the Auckland Philharmonia give their customary quality performance. And, most importantly, the cast is vocally strong. The two standouts in the cast have to be New Zealand soprano Anna Leese as Donna Elvira, one of Giovanni's victims, and Australian bass baritone Warwick Fyfe as Giovanni's long-suffering manservant Leporello." [Source]

1 comment:

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