Wednesday, 19 February 2014

ROCK ME, AMADEUS

'Don Giovanni', the opera with everything: glamour, power, tragedy, ghosts, not to mention a meaty sexual predator, irresistible to all women and the architect of his own doom. Which of course, being a man, he refuses to accept. Mozart must have been about thirty years old when he wrote this. His handle on the complexities of male-female attraction - the woman will see it as 'falling in love', the man as just another conquest - is as good as it gets, and as relevant today as when he came up with it in the late 1700s. When he died in 1791, Mozart was only thirty five.

The Royal Opera's/Kasper Holten's latest, in-your-face, innovative production of this piece crammed with hits has not charmed all critics. What does? I'm just your average music-lover. I adored it. As did Andrew 'Plebgate' Mitchell, who was sitting directly in front of us, street-chic in his pale blue gingham shirt. The irony of his attendance at perhaps this most extreme of all 'morality plays' was not lost. Great comedy and high tragedy. Sell me more.

Bravo Brazilian tenor Atalla Ayan, who stepped into the shoes of an ailing Antonio Poli only yesterday morning to sing, splendidly, the role of Don Ottavio. This lesser Don is a sap compared to the louche sex god portrayed beguilingly by forty one year-old Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien. Giovanni gets the girls, but Ottavio gets one of the greatest arias ever composed for the tenor voice: 'Il Mio Tesoro'. There is a God.

Talking of Whom. French author Gustave Flaubert ('Madame Bovary') described 'Don Giovanni', together with 'Hamlet' and the sea, as 'the three finest things God ever made.' 

Covent Garden goes mad for it. Unrepentant Giovanni goes to hell. We all do.

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