Magazine article Opera Canada

Victoria

Magazine article Opera Canada

Victoria

Article excerpt

Pacific Opera Victoria's season-closing Don Giovanni was an entertaining visual romp, partly from Glynis Leyshon's refreshingly askew direction and partly from ebullient performance values.

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Even if she didn't score a bull's-eye with every move, Leyshon's take was based on a canny grasp of the opera's myriad theatrical possibilities. Setting it in 16th-century Spain as an ecclesiastical trial of Giovanni, against John Ferguson's looming, church-inspired sets, punched up the dramatic atmosphere a notch or two. However, having the "jury" (members of cast and chorus) constantly observing from the stage edges was distracting: either one watched the onlookers and ignored the leads or focused on the leads and ignored the onlookers, making it pointless to have them. With an ensemble of such vivacious and gifted singers, who had hit stride by the Apr. 24 performance, one would not want to miss any of the highly kinetic interaction between them.

Baritone Gregory Dahl was a Don Giovanni to be reckoned with, the kind of guy you love to hate while envying him all the same. He physically and vocally dominated the stage when he was on it, yet gave a finely nuanced portrayal of a libertine who is thoroughly convinced his womanizing ways are precisely what the world needs. …

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