Don Giovanni

By Maddy on 15.10.2019

Last Tuesday, the Royal Opera House opened its new season, and Centre National de l’Audiovisuel is again ready to host the live performances of 6 operas and 6 ballets.

The season started with Don Giovanni, the music of Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART and livret by Lorenzo da Ponte, put in scene by Kasper Holten. The vision of Kasper Holten brings to the production the video-projection on the scene that makes the action more fluid and engaging.

The story of the serial seducer, accompanied by his servant Leporello, takes an unexpected turn when he commits murder. From there a ghost from the past, Donna Elvira, shows up in an unsuccessful attempt of saving him.

In this cast, we re-meet the bass-baritone Erwin Schrott that played Méphistophélès in Faust last year. Again, he embraced the role so well, that at first it was hard to recognize him. But also, we find some new faces Roberto Tagliavini (Leporello, bass), Malin Byström (Donna Anna, soprano), Myrtò Papatanasiu (Donna Elvira, soprano) and Daniel Behle (Don Ottavio, tenor).

The 3h and 30 minutes of the opera were amazing, always kept on edge and feeling as being part of the story. Although this, there were small issues that turned out to be a bit disturbing, such as the exaggerated mimicry and vocal posture of the lead female actress, which made her performance look unnatural and forced (it indeed gave her a better vocal performance with the drawback of disadvantaging her in the other areas).

The scene started with a projection of all the names of the ladies and young-ladies Don Giovanni has seduced on his way around Europe. I found this opening scene a very intrusive one, as it makes the public a culpable witness from the start to Don Giovanni’s actions (let’s not forget that the opera starts with Don Giovanni killing Donna Anna’s father in the first 5 minutes).

Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House September 2019
(c) 2019 ROG. Photograph by Mark Douet

The video-projection was used through the whole time on the rotative décor that was put in place. This rotative house not only gave another dimension to the scenes, but also it let us understand better the mind of Don Giovanni. First, it made room for the characters to be on the stage in the same time but in different plans of the story. Also, the décor helped with changing in between scenes to be more fluid and on the go all the time, without interrupting visibly the story.

The second purpose of this house that was rotating most of the time, was to better understand the twisted mind and soul of Don Giovanni. The running from remorse at times, and from his seduction nature at other. It showed how hard it is to keep locked in a room all your darkest secrets, and how, after all, the consciousness wins.

Don Giovanni at the Royal Opera House September 2019
The Royal Opera 2019 ROH. Photograph by Mark Douet

This season has a lot in store for us, such as opera Don Pasquale (24.10), La Boheme (29.01)and ballet La belle au bois dormant (16.01), Le lac des cygnes (01.04) and many others.  For more information and the full program you can click here.

#opera #ROHdongiovanni #CNA