Sunday, January 08, 2012

A short Don Giovanni post....

This is not going to be long…

I was just thinking I should write about what I am looking forward to this year, when I realised that somehow, I managed to miss writing about Don Giovanni, that we saw last year…..


So, Don G. At Sydney Opera House. With Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Don G, Conal Coad as Leporello, and the usual production that has been doing the rounds there for years. You know, with the collapsing pillars at the end and the leather shorts and the stunning bod and…..

Oh, and Jacquie Dark as Elvira.

Hang on, that's not a mezzo role?

Well, of course, Mozart wrote when the terms soprano, mezzo, etc, were not really used. He wrote for individual singers, which makes it interesting that his roles are often used to define fachs (voice types, for those who were wondering)

Jacquie is a big meaty mezzo (dramatic mezzo, okay) and her voice actually fits Donna Elvira really well. She takes the shrieking harridan and turns her into well, a rounded character, whose coloratura turns become a part of her personality, freak outs that are explaining her inner torment, rather than just exercises in vocal technique and "look at me, aren't I an amazing singer" outbursts. In short, she built her performance around what the music showed, which is how it should be, rather than the usual, somewhat understandable "park and Bark" role it often is (its bloody hard music)

Teddy as Don Giovanni? Well, I admit, I have often thought that TTR is a bit bloodless vocally. As in, its a pretty voice, but his recordings (I have rarely seen him live) seemed to be lacking a bit of commitment, or engagement with the role or something. I will never say that again!!! The man is clearly a stage animal, sinking his teeth into DG, making him a believable lecher in the first act, then turning the later parts of the opera with its supernatural elements into a mad scene. The intervention of the statue became more like the results of hallucination than supernatural events, but it made sense because of his totally committed and demented performance. All sung in his beautiful (and surprisingly expressive) voice. Did I mention he ends shirtless?

And of course, there is Conal Coad, a comic bass of many years experience and huge talent. This was the second time I saw him live last year, and each time he has brought a stunning performance, hilarious, yet also real and true to life. He really does make these roles his own, applying his beautiful rich voice to these complex roles with seeming ease, yet working them for the inherent humour. We really forget just how amazing he is most of the time, having seen him so often taking a back seat role, then, give him a moment to shine and he is still stunning. (He was amazing in Capriccio too)

Anyway, just a few thoughts, because I figured, I needed to clear the decks before I started writing about the huge amount (for me) of opera that I am going to be seeing this year. That will probably be my next post, unless I do one on Rodelinda this afternoon (not sure if we are going…)

I also did not write about Siegfried, which was fab. But, as I am seeing that this year in the flesh… That can wait..

1 comment:

bernard said...

yeah, DG was fantastic.

The mad scene, and the descent to hell were absolutely superb. I think that I stopped breathing for about the last five minutes. Absolute magic.

First time I'd heard TTR live, and gee it was magnificent. As The Tall One said - a total stage animal.