Geldofian Don Giovanni Comes To Covent Garden
Londonist Rating: ★★★★☆
Imagine a universe in which a man is kinder for loving loads of ladies at once, because to love just one would be cruel to the others. Sorry, lads of London: only by the manipulated logic of Don Giovanni can it be so.
The most striking dimension of Kasper Holten’s newly-revived production of Mozart’s eternal romcom is precisely its multi-dimensionality as a piece of stage craft. It occurs on a perpetually rotating cubic structure crammed with staircases and doors, in which new angles, scenarios, and projected images constantly come into being as Giovanni schemes and deceives. It has the claustrophobia of a model home, and the madness of an Escher print.
Some will argue that this technical wizardry has the capacity to distract from a sufficiently pacey and racy drama — but for us, the continual whirling of the set makes for a more visually stimulating rendition of the haywire moral compasses of Giovanni and his adversaries.
Giovanni kills the Commendatore in attempt to make a hasty exit after bedding his daughter Donna Anna. As the sex maniac embroils himself in a dangerous love triangle by pursuing with the soon-to-be-married peasant girl Zerlina, Donna Anna’s fiancé Don Ottavio hunts for the Commendatore’s killer. In the classic aria Il meo tesoro, the music is exquisite but the sentiments horrifying; Rolando Villazon’s Ottavio promising to put a deadly end to the womaniser's womanising.
Giovanni himself is sung by the baritone Christopher Maltman, who resembles a rock star approaching his ‘grizzled’ phase - with Geldof-ian locks and a spindly gait. The charisma is all there; for her sins, Donna Elvira continues to love him despite everything, and in (seemingly) avoiding being dragged off to Hell by the Commendatore in the shortened ending, he seems as curiously indestructible as any good lothario.
Don Giovanni runs until 3 July 2015 at the Royal Opera House, Bow Street, WC2E 9DD. Tickets from £60. Londonist saw this performance with a complimentary ticket.
Last Updated 17 June 2015