Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bullingdon Boy: Don Giovanni at The Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London

This experience was quite a change from my usual one at the Coliseum. Normally I sit in a cheap upper circle seat more often than not on the back row. A friend told me 'I can't go there - I have no head for heights'  There are advantages: a panoramic view of the big stage and being more or less level with the sur-titles. There's a magical quality to sitting almost within the splendid dome, almost touching  the gilded charioteers on either side of the stage. The acoustics are so good that none of the music is lost.

This time, being an official reviewer, I was in the middle of the stalls and even had to lift my eyes to read the sur-titles.

I'd nothing much to draw  on in terms of previous knowledge of the work : an amateur performance in Chiswick in which a friend sang  the dramatic Commendatore role  and  nearly caused a companion to jump out of his seat with surprise at the climax to the second Act. That was nearly twenty years ago and I couldn't remember much else about it.  So I watched a DVD of a film version directed by Joseph Losey to have something more recent to compare. Recent for me, that is - the film was made in 1979.

The film was beautifully shot in the grounds of an authentic Italian villa filled with amazing statuary. So this version, inspired by contemporary Spanish city suburbs, was quite a contrast. Political references struck nearer to home, presenting a womanizer with a sense of entitlement.

 My review is  on The Public Reviews website. When I read the Evening Standard reviewer's account next day I realised I should have said a lot more about the music, but to be fair the actual staging was pretty spectacular. It didn't quite overshadow the sound, but it bid fair to doing so.

The show seems to have improved  a lot  since its first showing in 2010, going by the reviews at the time.

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