Ian (lovingboth) wrote,

A tale of two Dons

On Saturday evening, I saw Opera North's production of Don Giovanni. It was ok. Although from a quick look at someone else's programme, none of the singers is a native speaker of Italian, they did it in Italian, using a couple of TVs in the theatre's boxes to have the ok translation.

There was stuff to like - Zelina's approach to calming Masetto was to have sex with him: her high notes at the end were her coming. The performances of the women were good.

Alas, there was also some stuff not to like. Masetto and the male peasants are 1950s teddy boys and Zelina and the rest of the women peasants are also dressed in 1950s style. On first sight, it looks like most of the posh lot are in Victorian clothes (Don Ottavio has a top hat) but it might just be 'posh 50s'. But Leporello is in 1920s boating gear.

But the biggest WTF I've ever had at a Don - and I saw the dire previous ENO production - was what happens when Masetto and his friends find the Don while he's dressed as Leporello. I cannot believe I am typing this, but the Don magically makes them behave like pigs: they go onto all fours, and snort about while he's telling all but Masetto to go away. WTF?!

Possibly the second biggest is at the end. Rather than being dragged down to Hell, the Don is lifted up out of sight via some puppet strings, placed on him by ghostly women. Erm, ok. It's not done because there isn't a trap door on the stage - the Commendatore sticks his head up through one (and someone else's arm comes up another) - but ok. Curtain swishes across for a moment and then opens to reveal the six survivors... who are all sitting slumped against the set, like dumped puppets. Occasionally they jerk their arms about, as it someone has tugged on an invisible string. WTF?!

The recent Met Opera production was on Sky Arts 2 tonight. It's very good - the production is a fine period one and the singing is superb. If you've ever wondered why I go on about opera, and this one in particular, it will give you some idea. It's on again at 2am and 2pm tomorrow, plus 8am on Wednesday. If you've got a recorder, set it now.

This entry was originally posted at http://lovingboth.dreamwidth.org/484206.html, because despite having a permanent account, I have had enough of LJ's current owners trying to be evil. Please comment there using OpenID - comment count unavailable have and if you have an LJ account, you can use it for your OpenID account. Or just join Dreamwidth! It only took a couple of minutes to copy all my entries here to there.

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