Don Giovanni by Mozart

Don Giovanni by Mozart
The Opera School Melbourne. National Theatre, St Kilda. Director: Cameron Menzies. Musical Director: Trevor Jones. Saturday September 4, 2010

In the seventies I attended the National Theatre Opera School for some years. There were language, music and movement classes, performances of scenes from opera, and one major production each year. That was eventually taken over by the VCA, but died a few years ago. Last year Linda Thompson, former principal with Opera Australia, later head of music at Monash University, revived the concept and Don Giovanni was their first full production.
There was much to admire here. With two casts I didn’t hear everyone, but they were all in their early twenties, very young to be singing opera. The exception was Diipty Firmstone as Donna Anna. At 28, her voice was clearly more mature than those of her colleagues, with power and beauty to spare. 22-year-old baritones, Nicholas Dinopoulos and Nathan Lay were both convincing as Leporello and Masetto with some lovely unforced singing. Stacey Alleaume was excellent as Zerlina.
In the title role Kristian Gregory was disappointing. Unlike his colleagues, his voice does not connect to the breath to produce an operatic sound. One hopes he can achieve this.
The judicious use of screens worked well and the small orchestra was excellent. I generally enjoyed the direction, but the constant groping was at odds with the refined music. The modern costuming did not distract. A disappointing audience made one wonder why a smaller and cheaper venue was not chosen. One wishes them all the best.

Graham Ford

Image: SDP Media

To keep up with the latest news and reviews at Stage Whispers, click here to like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.