Saturday, January 17, 2009

Don Giovanni

Actually, it's a production that's about 5 years old, and it's beginning to show. It's lost about 20% of its performance instructions (doesn't anyone write them down?) which takes some of the fun out of it. I think I've watched it often enough now - about 5 or 6 times.

Some of the singers have changed. Leporello was originally sung by Vladimiras Prudnikovas, before his brief spell as a rather ill-fated culture minister. Now it's sung by Liudas Norvaisas, who has a very nice voice indeed - but he is missing a few performance instructions.

Sigute Stonyte, one of the original cast, continues to be great; with a nice voice, and very funny. There also one or two performance instructions were lost.

Kestutis Alcauskis, as the young companion of Donna Elvira, also has a beautiful voice, less nasal than that of his predecessor, but was lacking colour a bit. When a guy fiddles with his .... sword in a threatening kind of way, one would expect some steel in the voice, too.

Joana Gedmintaite, who is one of the younger stars of the opera house, sounded a bit very light and very bright.

Something funny about the orchestra, though. Although the conductor did his best (though does he have to grunt quite as much? it's not a tennis match!) the strings sounded rather dull, almost deadened. The violins have some wonderful lines in the overture, but I could hardly hear them over the winds - and I was sitting in the front row, almost on top of them. Maybe the sound carries better to seats further away.

The opera house was packed, though, and people enjoyed it. If you are not too fussy, and you like Mozart operas, you might as well go.