BWW Reviews: HGO's DON GIOVANNI's Plot Drags Despite Tremendous Talents
Houston, Houston Grand Opera, Opera, Don Giovanni, Mozart, Harry Silverstein, Göran Järvefelt
Joel Prieto's bright and illustrious tenor instrument is perfectly employed in his portrayal of Don Ottavio. He is beguiling but charmless as he constantly seeks to right the world for his betrothed without really ever stopping to consider her feelings. Joel Prieto boldly sings and brings insensitive arrogance to striking life in his portrayal of Don Ottavio.
Zerlina is brought to luminous life by Malin Chistensson's gleaming soprano instrument. She adds a naïve charisma to her portrayal.
Utilizing a vivid bass-baritone instrument, Michale Summel sings Masetto with an fascinating gusto. His character's jealousy is concretely defined.
Doing double duty by performing in both of the winter repertoire shows, Morris Robinson's alarming and visceral bass instrument is used to differing and powerful affect as the Commendatore. Here he is spartan and commanding, where his Joe in SHOW BOAT is delightfully warm and melodious.
Carl Friedrich Oberle's Set Design perfectly captures the grim tone of the show. The pieces are imposing and bleak. The neutral colors allow for fantastic lighting effects to be employed while appearing unnerving and almost hostile at all times.
Costume Design, also by Carl Friedrich Oberle, is pristinely period appropriate. The colors are dark and bold, and stand out against the muted light color of the sets. Don Giovanni is ingeniously clad in shoes with red heels, setting him visually apart from every other persona on stage.
Duane Schuler's lighting design deftly uses dazzling color palettes to enhance the set pieces and make the mood and tone of each scene visually apparent and appealing. Most interestingly he bathes the final scene in Don Giovanni's home with such a stark white light that everything seems dismal and vibrant at the same time, almost creating the simultaneous washout and brilliance of fluorescent lighting.
Unfortunately all of these astounding and pleasing elements combined together do not make DON GIOVANNI the most captivating and interesting opera that I have had the pleasure of seeing. The repetitiveness of the score and libretto cause parts of the plot to unnecessarily drag, but how does one even begin to try and tighten up a 225 year old piece without ruining your artistic integrity. Furthermore, I couldn't even begin to suggest cuts. Even with its tedious passages, the performance is made enjoyable by the remarkable talents showcased on the stage and in the orchestra pit.
Houston Grand Opera's DON GIOVANNI runs in the Brown Theatre of the Wortham Center through February 10, 2013. For more information and tickets, please visit http://www.houstongrandopera.org/ or call (713) 228 - 6737.Courtesy of Houston Grand Opera. All Photos by Felix Sanchez.
Morris Robinson (Commendatore) and Adrian Eröd (Don Giovanni).
Kyle Ketelsen (Leporello) and Veronika Dzhioeva (Donna Elvira).
Adrian Eröd (Don Giovanni) and Malin Christensson (Zerlina).
Joel Prieto (Don Ottavio) and Rachel Willis-Sørensen (Donna Anna).
Adrian Eröd (Don Giovanni), Veronika Dzhioeva (Donna Elvira), Joel Prieto (Don Ottavio), Rachel Willis-Sørensen (Donna Anna), and Kyle Ketelsen (Leporello).
Adrian Eröd (Don Giovanni) and Morris Robinson (Commendatore).