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Don Giovanni

Music by Mozart

Opera North

The Lowry, 10 November 2012

William Dazeley as Don Giovanni.  Photo credit: Robert Workman

William Dazeley as Don Giovanni. Photo credit: Robert Workman

The alternate title of the opera is The Rake Punished, though The Rake Unrepentant might have been more apposite.

For Don Giovanni dies as he lived – there are no last minute pleas for absolution – and accepts damnation without so much as blinking twice.

There cannot have been much joy or fun in it at the close, mind.  A bit battle-weary he seems like here, especially since all that raking looks to have become simply a numbers game.  He’s got a bit of a reputation and they now expect him to bed a certain number of women each month, week, day, hour, minute…  Our hero is feeling the pressure, and wouldn’t you be?  His performance is being monitored, there are KPIs he’s got to achieve each quarter.  Targets need to be met.  It’s hardly the libertarian ideal.

And D.H. Lawrence would hardly approve, in fact he’d likely scold mercilessly.  ‘What many women cannot give, one woman can.’  That was his view.  Don Giovanni, man, you’re going about it all wrong.  Many crumbs do not a cake make.  Think on it.

What’s special about this excellent staging of Don Giovanni is the way in which the conceit of the puppet theatre suggests that these people (not only our hero, but the paragons of virtue, so-called, too) are automata, their actions arising from forces outside their control.  We see how sad and silly human beings are, when seen from Heaven’s perspective.  Of the several fine performances, I particularly enjoyed William Dazeley in the title role and Claire Wild’s lively and zestful Zerlina.

Don Giovanni is touring throughout November, visiting Newcastle and Nottingham, and further details can be had here.