Review of Don Giovanni at the Dorset Opera Festival in 2021: A complete revelation!
When you’re invited to the opera, what do you do?
With great joy, accept! But what do you do when you’re invited to three different renditions of the same opera? Of course, I accept! It’d be impolite not to.
The opera in question was Don Giovanni, Mozart and da Ponte’s interpretation of Don Juan, the wealthy lothario or libertine who is said to have seduced thousands of women during his lifetime.
The statue of the father of one of his conquests, whom he kills at the beginning, drags the Don to Hell in the end. So the Don gets his just desserts, but not before leading the audience on a rollercoaster of intrigue and drama.
Mozart is a favorite composer of opera houses and festivals around the world.
His art is sure to have people’s butts on seats! However, although the larger opera companies have been able to access the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to assist them get through the pandemic’s hard times, many of the UK’s self-funded Country House opera events have been left to their own devices.
The bulk of Mozart’s operas do not require a huge chorus, which is advantageous when trying to save money and adhere to the 2-metre rule.
So, where did I have my Three Dons experience? The first was at the Royal Opera House, the second was at the magnificent Garsington on the Getty Estate in Wormsley, and the third was at the small Dorset Opera Festival at Blandford Forum.
Dorset’s first night coincided with the government’s Freedom Day, and the Festival, which also included Cosi fan tutte and Acis and Galatea, ran throughout the entire country’s single week of searing heat.
Rather of comparing all three, I feel obligated to concentrate on this one because Dorset’s Don was a complete revelation – far and away the best of the three!
The show, directed by music polymath Paul Carr, was built on the premise that Don Giovanni himself should be appealing to both men and women! How could this not be the case with Panamanian-American baritone Nmon Ford in the main role?
Ford, who recently appeared in the UK as Crown in the ENO version of Porgy and Bess, was a casting coup for Roderick Kennedy, Dorset’s artistic director. “Brinkwire Summary News.” The audience couldn’t take their gaze away from Don.