1 August 2014

Revisiting Don Giovanni at Glyndebourne (2014)


I had seen this production of Don Giovanni twice before, in 2010 and in 2011, but it is such a great opera, possibly the definitive opera in the same way that Swan Lake is the definitive ballet, and a three year gap between performances is quite a long one so I was keen to go back for more.

Luckily Glyndebourne agreed and while I was unlucky in other aspects of the ballot (I only got four of the requested six operas) I did manage to get decent seats for this one. I was in Red Upper Circle D44 which was a great deal at £85.

It was a warm day so most people flocked to the grass for their picnics which left plenty of the of tables just outside the opera house free and I claimed one on the upper floor.

I did, of course, go for a walk through the gardens and I did, of course, pick up a glass of Pimm's along the way.

I was starting to learn the opera and so this time I was able to pay more attention to some of the details that I had missed previously when trying to follow the plot. Two things struck me; there were more strong solo pieces towards the end than I remembered and it should end earlier. Don Giovanni's loud decent is the natural end of the story and the epilogue that follows tells us nothing that we want to know.

Glyndebourne did what it always does and made the most of the opera and of the experience around it. The singing was magnificent and that is what mattered the most. The clever moving set was indeed clever and successfully completed its main task of easing the transition between scenes to keep the action going.

There could be no surprises with a known production of a known opera in a known setting but that was not the point. Both Don Giovanni and Glyndebourne are exceptionally good and so the combination was always going to be delightful. And it was.

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