Don Giovanni is one of Mozart's very best operas, and I found this Opera Australia production to be terrific. Perhaps not quite as good as Losey's film, the 1990 and 2000 Met productions or the Karajan performance, but one of the better ones to me. The production is traditional and looks very evocative and elegant. In regard to the staging, which is never static or distasteful, the Commendatore scene in particular is staged in a terrifying fashion and atmospherically lit. The way the magnificent music is played by the orchestra has all the graceful style and dark complexity that the score demands and the conducting shows great authority. I thoroughly enjoyed the performances. Jeffrey Black is a very conventional Don, and a terrific one at that with a virile voice and a handsome yet somewhat arrogant stage presence. Stephen Bennett amuses as Leporello, Douglas McNicol shows Massetto's anger effectively and David Hobson sings the thankless role of Ottavio with charm, great style and floating top notes. Donald Shanks is a genuinely intimidating Commendatore, his voice is a little woolly but is wonderfully projected. The women are just as good. Maybe Gillian Sullivan is more suited to lyric roles, but her Donna Anna is appropriately fiery and vengeful. Lisa Gasteen conveys Elvira's spite convincingly and Fiona Janes is a witty and adorable Zerlina. So all in all, a terrific Don Giovanni. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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