BWW Review: DON GIOVANNI at Thomas Edmonds Opera Studio

BWW Review: DON GIOVANNI at Thomas Edmonds Opera StudioReviewed by Barry Lenny, Saturday 4th May 2019.

Co-Opera, South Australia's very popular travelling opera company, is presenting two performances in Adelaide of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's tragicomedy, Don Giovanni. In Italian, he is Don Giovanni, but he is probably better known by his Spanish name, Don Juan. The full title of this opera is Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, meaning, The Rake (or Libertine) Punished, namely Don Giovanni. The libretto is by Mozart's regular collaborator, Lorenzo Da Ponte. As always, this is in cabaret format, permitting patrons to bring supper and drinks, to add to the enjoyment of an evening out.

This production is in the very capable hands of director, Nicholas Cannon, and conductor, Josh van Konkelenberg, who has at his command the Royal Commonwealth Society Ensemble to provide the music. This small group does a very commendable job with the reduced score.

The cast, as usual, features a good many of Adelaide's favourite singers, who also work with State Opera of South Australia. There is no shortage of great talent here. In the titular role is baritone, Jeremy Tatchell, giving a sensational performance as the lecherous Don. His wicked, lascivious grins

Don Giovanni, with his grumbling servant, Leporello, in tow, has his eye on his next conquest, Donna Anna, but his attempt to rape her is fought off and, as he flees, her father, Don Pedro, the Commendatore, arrives and is killed by the Giovanni whilst trying to prevent his escape. Donna Anna makes her fiancé, Don Ottavio, swear vengeance.

Hearing a woman, who turns out to be Donna Elvira, singing of wanting vengeance against the lover who deserted her, the Don begins to seduce her, only to realise that he was that lover.

Zerlina and Masetto are to be married, and the Don decides to have her as his next conquest, separating the couple and turning his wiles against her. Donna Elvira arrives just in time, and takes Zerlina away. As the Don continues to plot to have his way with Zerlina, the trio of Ottavio, Anna, and Elvira are now determined to have their revenge.

By the second act, he has his sights set on Elvira's maid, but he is interrupted. Then a supernatural element creeps in when he jokingly invites a statue of the Commendatore to supper. The statue arrives and takes the Don to Hell, allowing the others to all live relatively happily ever after.

The much put-upon and hard done by servant of the Don, Leporello, is sung by Eddie Muliaumaseali'l, adding a great feel for comedy to his impressive bass voice, and more comedy comes from Masetto, played by Rod Schultz, creating a wimp who is desperately trying, and failing, to be a brave hero for his fiancé.

Sara Lambert, in the role of Donna Anna, was suffering from a bout of the influenza that is currently afflicting many in Adelaide. In spite of this, she soldiered on, giving a very fine performance and singing the major part of the role. At very short notice, Bethany Hill joined the production to assist her by singing the parts with the highest and most taxing passages from the side of the stage, reading from the score. The show must go on, and it did.

Don Ottavio was sung by Jiacheng Ding, who alternates the role with Brock Roberts, presenting a sophisticated nobleman, loyal to his love and willing to avenge her loss. Sarah Sweeting plays Donna Elvira, her thoughtful characterisation showing how Elvira is caught between her anger and disappointment, and her continuing love for Giovanni mingled with the hope that he will change.

Lisa Cannizzaro is vivacious and flirtatious as Zerlina, giving a very lively and energetic interpretation of the character. The Commendatore is sung by Josh Rowe, bringing gravitas to the role, and darkly imposing when he transforms into the statue, seeking retribution, and chorus leader, Erin Holmes, is here, there, and everywhere, doing everything from singing in the ensembles, to moving furniture.

The set, too, has a surprise of its own waiting, so buy tickets and find out what. Co-Opera consistently provides a good night out, and this production is no exception so, wherever you are on their tour of this opera, be sure to book early.

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From This Author Barry Lenny

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