REVIEWS: Opera - DON GIOVANNI Grange Park Opera WINCHESTER HHH
Seckerson, Edward, The Independent (London, England)
Grange Park Opera's eighth season begins arrestingly: the flicker of candles in the gloom, indistinct figures, eerie reflections. The table is set for Don Giovanni's last supper. The guests appear to have arrived.
But, as the first chords of the overture grimly strike home, it becomes clear that he alone is living among the undead. Seated beside him are ghostly figures from his dissolute past. In a matter of minutes, his latest conquest's soon-to-be-deceased father will join them. For the duration of the overture, though, it is business as usual for the Don.
So far, so striking. The dumb-show that plays out during the busy allegro of the overture (energetically despatched by the conductor Stefan Solyom) will be taken as read by those who know this 'gentleman'. He offers the lady a ring; she willingly yields to his advances. She welcomes the abuse. Enter and exit her father, the Commendatore, slain by the Don's own hand. Donna Anna cries 'rape'.
If only the director Daniel Slater had maintained the intrigue and momentum of this opening. Donna Anna's consensual sex and, by default, her complicity in the death of her father isn't a new idea, but it makes shocking dramatic sense. …