Review: Don Giovanni

Richard Lutz takes his seat at the Birmingham Hippodrome for this Mozart classic about love, sex and, inevitably, death

Don Giovanni is a character that likes to make lists- in this case lists of his sexual conquests.

He has bedded woman, says his servant reading from his book of dalliance, from Italy, Spain, Germany, France- he’s a veritable Euro-babe magnet.

He is also downright despicable, self centred, funny and ultimately damned.

In the Welsh National Opera’s version of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, the lead, played by David Kempster,  has a thoroughly non-stop wicked gleam in his eye.

He leaves a stream of unhappy, angry, tearful ex-lovers in his crummy wake.

Director John Caird brings us a dark production, surrounded at times by slowly moving funereal statues akin to Rodin figures. The set slowly, inevitably, closes in around this Don Giovanni, until death, in the form of one of his murder victims drags him to hell.

And good riddance, the modern audience felt.

To put it in context, Mozart had just lost his father back in the 1780’s when this was produced and the deathly paternal figure of the Commendatore sealing his hellish fate must have been based on Mozart’s own intimations of mortality.

Costumes are gorgeous, the music splendid, Camilla Roberts shines as Donna Anna (one of the spurned lovers) and altogether this dark cynical opera that is one of Mozart’s classics  sets it apart from many of Mozart’s happier and sunnier masterpieces such as Cosi van Tutti or The Marriage of Figaro

And for those who actually want to follow the plot, WHO provides surtitles above the stage- thankfully in English and not Welsh.
+Birmimgham Hippodrome 0844 338 7000- next performance: 18th November.