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Friday, 16 July 2010

Don Giovanni at Opera Holland Park

This was, surprisingly, my first visit to see Mozart’s famous opera, Don Giovanni. Once again sitting in the buzzing audience at Opera Holland Park. I can’t get enough of this company!

The first thing I noticed as I sat down was the striking set in front of me. It was a luxuriously dark and moody stage, on one side the same devilish picture of Don hangs in frames small and large, a constant reminder of his presence throughout the opera. The set barely altered during the show, but clever props transformed the scene and made the changes in location completely believable. This was also thanks to the brilliant lighting director Colin Grenfell. Director Stephen Barlow decided on a late Victorian setting which suited the unique Holland Park setting.

Don Giovanni is a murder story, gripping from start to finish. Nicholas Garrett, who I have previously seen as ‘Scarpia’ in Tosca, plays the lead Don Giovanni. Garrett seems to have great fun playing the extremely licentious young nobleman. He owns the stage and sings the legato melodies with charm and charisma. Claire Wild is delightful as the naive Zelina; the seduction scenes between her and Garrett were witty and exciting. Simon Wilding is fierce as the Commendatore and particularly haunting when he returns in the final scene. Conductor, Robert Dean is an enthused leader for the orchestra injecting the whole show with musical energy.

This production certainly rivals London’s main opera houses. Every seat under the canopy was filled for a show that could have attracted an audience of double the size. I strongly urge you to visit Opera Holland Park especially if you haven’t been before, but hurry the season ends on 14 August.

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