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A dreary Don Giovanni from the Met

30 November 2012

‘A show that the Met should be ashamed of,’ wrote Zachary Woolfe. An act of ‘criminal negligence,’ for James Jorden. For Superconductor, it is a staging that has already ‘outworn its welcome’. I won’t go that far, but I’ve had better nights too:

Theatre director Michael Grandage’s 2011 production was his third attempt at opera after a Glyndebourne Billy Budd and a Butterfly in Houston, and it focuses on humour rather than any of the the opera’s undercurrents… not a great deal happens on stage, despite the occasional neat touch (like the hooded figures in the graveyard implying a community of fathers wronged by the Don), solid choreography from Ben Wright, and a real circle of flames at the end. With Grandage’s overall conception and Louisa Miller’s light directorial touch for this first revival, we’re left largely to take our own stand on the action by this production, which resolutely avoids the opera’s deeper undertones.

Erwin Schrott was excellent, as ever. Far from ‘undermining’ the production, as Superconductor suggests, I thought he was one of the few singers to attempt to bring out the sex/class/moral conflicts of the opera. It was just hard to notice when surrounded by so little else. You can read the rest of my review at Bachtrack here.

UPDATED: Read more on the controversy surrounding the reviewing of this Don via the never-knowingly-understated Norman Lebrecht.

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