Delightful London revival of Don Giovanni

The new London run of Don Giovanni, the third revival of this production since the Millennium, is an unalloyed delight.

Singing and acting by the principals was outstanding. Simon Keenlyside – magisterial, dominant, Joyce DiDonato – rich, powerful, and Ramon Vargas – subtle, delicate, in particular, delivered world-class performances. It’s rare to see such talents together on the same stage. The lesser principals were formidable, too.

You can’t go far wrong with a good production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni – the score is relentless, engaging, the sections of musical genius seemingly queuing to follow each other, with hardly a let-up, for three hours. Da Ponte’s libretto, by turns comic and tragic, drives the action, remorselessly.

The Royal Opera House band, purposefully conducted by Charles Mackerras, brought out the glory and the subtlety of this great work.

Chorus, direction, staging, lighting, sets, dancing – all were exhilarating.

Friday’s Don Giovanni was one of the musical highlights of my life: music for grown-ups doesn’t come much better than this.

Great art: bravo Mozza, bravo Covent Garden!

Gerry Smith

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