Don Giovanni – Cheltenham Everyman REVIEW

Fun fact. I am a student.

Opera and student aren’t two words you tend to put together. I am not completely uncultured but I was yet to experience a full-on, grown up opera. Therefore I’ll admit I was dubious towards many things. Would I understand it? Would I be able to follow the story? Would it be dull? Would it be too long? My mind reeled with doubt as I found my seat.

Firstly, the stereotype of opera as dull is absolute rubbish. Gripping wasn’t the word. The storyline was incredible, and the English Touring Opera did it justice. My book of notes were incredibly scrawly as I hadn’t been taking my eyes off the stage for most of the piece. The first half set things up beautifully and had a tense last scene making you think it was the end of Don Giovanni. The second half starts of slower as you expect to be picked up where you left off, it takes a little while to get back into the high energy, murder-hungry, sex-driven story.

Not boring? Check.

Giovanni

As I mentioned the other concern I had was whether I would be able to make head or tail of an opera. I thought it would be all operatic and blurry (maybe even in another language) but alas within the first line my worries were put to rest and I followed along perfectly. If you can understand the Les Miserable film you will able to understand this. One character aside the singing wasn’t too heavy. When all the characters, who were as strong as each other, layered their voices it became wonderfully muddled and you just melted through the layers of sound that resinated around the auditorium.

Understandable? Check.

There was one set throughout, and the props were very minimal. However, the lighting was very impressive. They managed to convince me of huge scene changes from inside Don Giovanni’s grand house to outside on the dingy streets.

Immersive? Check.

The cherry on top of the piece was the occasional comedic elements thrown in. It lightened the dark and sinister tone of the opera and gave light and shade to the show. Lots of double entendres and cheeky remarks, mainly made by Don Giovanni’s servant, Leporello, surprised me, never expected something as serious as an opera to have such relieving elements. The scene between Leporello, and one of Don Giovanni’s many women was a particular stand out point for me. As the comical servant runs of list of females Don Giovanni, the poor woman’s face drops, however the smile across mine grew.

Comedy? Check.

Worth seeing? Check.

 

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