The Opera Tattler: SF Opera’s Don Giovanni

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_DSC4033* Notes * 
Don Giovanni, the final installment of the Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy directed by Michael Cavanagh, opened yesterday night at San Francisco Opera. It was a pleasure to listen to Maestro Bertrand de Billy conduct this lovely music and there was a lot beautiful singing.

Submit-apocalyptic future felt very like one thing out of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower, although that work is ready within the just a few years from now slightly than the late 2080s for this manufacturing. It felt like violence might occur at any second within the decrepit model of the 18th century manor home that was as soon as so charming for Così fan tutte from the autumn.

There have been references to the earlier two operas, particularly within the costuming. One of many humorous crimson gnome hats worn by Dorabella and Fiordiligi present up on a refrain member who is likely one of the survivors of this dystopian world. The startling physicality of the singers was evident proper a manner within the dying of the Commendatore, who took a disturbingly very long time to die. The intensive projections throughout the overture which included fireplace and shadows of individuals had been distracting and a bit on the nostril.

It’s all the time attention-grabbing to see how administrators cope with varied parts of the plot in a brand new manner. As an alternative of threatening his company with a gun within the Act I finale, Don Giovanni places on sun shades and has Leperello blind them with the sunshine of his transportable projector. This machine is used throughout “Madamina, il catalogo è questo” to point out the checklist of names of Don Giovanni’s conquests, and seems all through the piece.

I actually loved “Don Giovanni! A cenar teco m’invitasti,” when the Commendatore comes for dinner as a monumental statue (pictured, {photograph} by Cory Weaver). Normally that is my favourite little bit of the opera anyway, due to these wild diminished sevenths and stentorian tones from the bass. Right here the enormous head that appeared was extraordinarily absurd and surreal and I couldn’t cease laughing, which was in all probability not the meant response, however actually was probably the most memorable stagings of Don Giovanni I’ve ever seen. The descent to hell was significantly nice, because the statue broke in half and each actual fireplace and projections overtook our rakish anti-hero.

As an alternative of the same old mishmash of the 2 variations of the rating, this time San Francisco Opera caught to Vienna (1788) model. So it had “Dalla sua tempo” however not “Il mio Tesoro” for Don Ottavio and “Restati qua… Per queste tue manine” in Act II, a duet for vengeful Zerlina and a slightly hapless Leporello. The orchestra was neat and clear, the onstage and offstage musicians for the assorted bandas all performed effectively. There have been just a few instances when the music was a bit off-kilter, like for “Batti, batti o bel Masetto,” as Mozart’s music is unforgiving and exposes each flaw. Nonetheless, conductor de Billy was extra sedate than some others in current reminiscence, and it was good to really feel just like the orchestra was safe and never at risk of flying off the rails. That is the primary outing for our new refrain director John Keene, and it appeared advantageous, the refrain was cohesive and particularly robust as unseen demons for the aforementioned inferno scene.

The forged is stable, a number of fairly singing and advantageous performing. Because the Commendatore bass Soloman Howard may not have had the gravity of an older man, however his quantity was good and his onstage dying throes had been convincing. Former Merolino bass-baritone Cody Quattlebaum was barely wood as Masetto, however maybe that works for the position. I do bear in mind him being charming in Walton’s The Bear in 2017, however clearly it is rather totally different music. Soprano Christina Gansch sang Zerlina with heat, significantly beautiful in her duet “Là ci darem la mano” and confirmed a extra sadistic aspect within the duet “Per queste tue manine.” I nonetheless bear in mind Luca Pisaroni as Masetto again in 2007 as a result of I noticed 6 or 7 of the performances, however he’s an amiable Leporello and sounded sturdy. He was glorious at bodily humor, and was very humorous when he tried to impersonate his grasp at the start of Act II.

_DSC8346Tenor Amitai Pati cuts a dashing determine as Don Ottavio, although he’s a contact underpowered. His “Dalla sua tempo” had a longing in it that was beautiful. I favored soprano Nicole Automotive’s Donna Elvira, her penetrating, taut sound is simply shy of shrill and was excellent distinction to soprano Adela Zaharia’s Donna Anna (pictured, {photograph} by Cory Weaver). These three singers blended effectively collectively, and I cherished their trio of Act I (“Protegga il giusto cielo”). Zaharia undoubtedly was the standout of the night. Her voice is incandescent, the low notes have richness and the excessive notes very shiny and safe. Her Act II aria “Non mi dir” was revelatory, probably the most lovely moments of the entire opera. Baritone Etienne Dupuis was no slouch both as Don Giovanni, he is a wonderful actor and has a pleasant, candy voice that’s shiny sufficient to chop via the orchestra. I used to be impressed by his skill to channel the lankiness of Pisaroni’s Leporello although their frames are slightly totally different. He was additionally brutal with Donna Elvira (who the truth is is performed by his actual life partner), particularly when he threw a dish of fish at her in Act II. Dupuis did effectively with “Fin ch’han dal vino calda la testa,” mild and sparkly and his “Deh, vieni alla finestra” was additionally very fairly.

Tattling * 
The couple in entrance of us in Row S Seats 2 and 4 had been chatty, however the maskless individual subsequent to them in Seat 6 was even louder, he had the sniffles and his respiratory was so distinct and in my ear I believed it is perhaps my date that was snarfling a lot. The lady in Seat 4 could not take it and switched to Row R Seat 2 earlier than Donna Elvira’s entrance.

This was good in that her date (whose masks was rigorously tucked below his chin) needed to lean ahead to speak to her, and thus the sound of their voices was additional away from me. After I gigglingly urged to my companion that it was she that had triggered all that racket, she was offended and incensed. She rolled up her opera program and hit me as she proclaimed “Batti! Batti!”

Not one of the three returned to their seats after intermission. I didn’t discover any digital noise throughout the efficiency however numerous viewers members dropped issues.

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