'If you fancy dipping your toe into classical opera, grab this inviting opportunity' - Don Giovanni at the Gaiety
Review – Dublin Theatre Festival, Don Giovanni, Gaiety Theatre, Dublin
The 59th Dublin Theatre Festival kicked off on a high note at the Gaiety Theatre on Thursday night. Gaybo was in the front row of the Dress Circle while Roddy Doyle’s bang-up Dublin-inflected libretto for Mozart’s opera unfolded.
Late 18 Century Europeans sing about “stupid slappers”, “gobshites” and go off “skulling pints.” The theatre festival runs for eighteen days, with over twenty-five shows in as many shapes and sizes as the ladies that the titular lothario here professes to love.
Don Giovanni spends the play seducing and attempting to rape a variety of sopranos. He is the original sex-addict, and would be diagnosed as such if contemporary psychologists got their hands on him. He treats his servant abominably, and all his lady conquests worse.
Tara Erraught as Donna Elvira, his most conflicted lover, brings her velvet mezzo voice and high wattage charisma to the role. Máire Flavin as Donna Anna carries the serious side of the story with a beautiful dignity and Daire Halpin also excels as a sweet Zerlina - one of classical operas many borderline masochists. David Kempster is perfectly tyrannical as Don Giovanni.
The show is stolen by John Molloy with a brilliant comic opera performance as Leporello, the manservant. Doyle’s knack for humour and his creative affinity with the underdog working man ensure Leporello has the best lines. Classical opera is often seen as inaccessible, but the rewards are immense and this version, directed by Gavin Quinn for Opera Theatre Company, is a winner.
Bruno Schwengl’s design is intelligent and dynamic and pitched for both humour and drama. The RTE Concert Orchestra delivers Mozart’s fabulous music with conductor Fergus Sheil a dramatic maestro. This is a superb show, and if you fancy dipping your toe into classical opera, grab this inviting opportunity.