Monday, 19 September 2011


'Everyone’s favourite Lothario villain is reincarnated on stage for Welsh National Opera’s Don Giovanni, juxtaposing light and dark to great effect. This production brings together three of the award-winning team behind Les Miserables - director John Caird, designer John Napier and lighting designer David Hersey. The trio have created an impressively oppressive mood that’s perfect for Mozart’s darkly intense, flawed masterpiece. Taking inspiration from Rodin’s The Gates of Hell, the ominous sculptural set is the grand star of the show, the ornate bronze panels of writhing bodies both lustful and entombed. These pivoting panels act as a constant and theatrical reminder that, beneath the surface amusements of Don Giovanni’s womanising, lies the suffering of his victims and a threat of eternal damnation.

Yet despite the dark undertones of rape and murder, WNO have excelled in bringing the comic energy of this popular two-act drama to life without descending into pantomime farce. David Soar can take much of the credit for this, playing the charmingly convincing Leporello, Giovanni’s hard-done-by servant. The predominantly young cast seem to take a while to get into their stride in Act I but, once they have, they pull it together well. Making both his Mozart and Don Giovanni debut, David Kempster is believably potent as a wanton hedonist, if lacking in devilish fire, while Wrexham’s Camilla Roberts is assured as the vengeful and devastated Donna Anna.
Keeping to traditional time and setting, John Napier and Yoon Bae have created refreshingly simple yet visually arresting costumes, from the sculpted, hooded demon forms to the floaty wedding party and the creepily statuesque Commendatore (Carlo Malinverno).'

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