Welsh National Opera – Don Giovanni

Tue 15 Nov, Fri 18 Nov

Don Giovanni
Supported by the WNO Partnership

Cast includes David Kempster as Don Giovanni, David Soar as Leporello, Nuccia Focile as Donna Elvira, Camilla Roberts as Donna Anna, Robin Tritschler as Don Ottavio, Claire Ormshaw as Zerlina, Gary Griffiths as Masetto and Carlo Malinverno as Commendatore
Who is Don Giovanni?
He is charming, charismatic, attractive and irresistible. Take care however; he is also deceitful, dangerous, violent and cold-hearted. To date he has had 2065 amorous conquests. He has seduced and murdered his way around Europe, but Don Giovanni’s luck is about to run out. Don Giovanni is one of the greatest of all operatic villains, drawn with consummate skill and surrounded by a kaleidoscope of very human characters. The opera is as rich and complex as the Don himself – it is both chilling and beautiful, comic and dramatic with one of the most powerful finales in all opera.
John Caird’s productions for WNO (Aida and Don Carlos) have been critically acclaimed. Music Director Lothar Koenigs conducts a superb cast, which includes Welsh baritone David Kempster in the title role.
Conductor Lothar Koenigs
Director John Caird
Designer John Napier
Sung in Italian with surtitles in English
Review by Simon Penfold, Express and Star:
…     ” On this occasion the devil doesn’t get all the best tunes – they are reserved for his victims. Both Nuccia Focile as Donna Elvira – torn between love and loathing for the Don – and Camilla Roberts as the wronged Donna Anna, are extraordinary sopranos and their voices were in fine form last night. David Soar was engaging as the Don’s hapless servant Leporello, keeping score of Giovanni’s 2,065 conquests.The set is a clever piece of work, with Rodin’s unfinished sculpture The Gates of Hell as its centrepiece, and”     …


Review by Roger Clarke, BehindTheArras:


…     “The story is there, the singing and playing is first class, the sound clear and well balanced and, in truth, it is a most enjoyable evening which could be made so much more satisfying though if it were just to lighten up a little both in terms of colour and candlepower, and in attitude. Let there be light and fun amid the cheats never prosper morality – after all Mozart catalogues Don Giovanni as opera buffa– comic opera – and perhaps he should know.”

(personally I loved the dark and brooding sets, the Gates to Hell were magnificent!)


Review by Richard Bratby, Birmingham Post:



…     “Vocally, Leporello (David Soar) almost upstaged his master, and Nuccia Focile’s nuanced, genuinely affecting Donna Elvira stood out amongst Camilla Roberts’ robust Donna Anna and Claire Ormshaw’s winningly guileless Zerlina. As Don Ottavio, Robin Tritschler made Dalla sua pace sound like Puccini; a ravishing moment, and of a piece with the almost Wagnerian colours of the WNO Orchestra in one of Lothar Koenigs’ most powerful readings to date.”




Rating * * * *

Welsh National Opera – Tosca

Wed 17 Mar, Fri 19 Mar 2010 7:15pm

No-one is safe in the Rome of 1800. Under Baron Scarpia corruption and suspicion hang over the city, virtue and humanity are cruelly stamped out.

The world of opera singer Floria Tosca is about to be turned upside down. She is suspicious of her lover Mario’s fidelity. Little does she realize that he is at the centre of a struggle that will lead to tragedy. Soon she herself will become the object of Scarpia’s insatiable lust and she will be forced to ask what she has done to deserve this.
Once decried as a “shabby little shocker”, Tosca has become one of the best loved of all operas. The combination of its fast paced plot, high tension and the poignancy of the great arias “Vissi d’arte” and “E lucevan le stelle” ensure that Tosca never fails to enthral.
Michael Blakemore’s period set production of this pulsating thriller promises to set your emotions on a knife-edge.
Cast includes Elisabete Matos as Floria Tosca, Geraint Dodd as Cavaradossi, Robert Hayward as Scarpia.
Owing to the indisposition of Elisabete Matos, the role of Tosca was sung by Naomi Harvey on 17th March
I thought Robert Hayward was brilliant, pitiful, pathetic, then evil and repugnant, and beautiful singing. I have heard better sopranos but Naomi Harvey had an intense presence, and sang well. The orchestra were fairly good, great to have the music vibrating under one’s feet, and enjoyed the whole evening. The set was grand and fit the large Hippodrome stage well. (so not sure about Birmingham Post review?!)
Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:
…”Naomi Harvey and Geraint Dodd had excellent stage-presence as Tosca and Cavaradossi, despite occasionally bumpy and raspy singing, and Robert Hayward made a convincing Scarpia, if more psychotic and less chillingingly self-controlled than we normally see in this evil Chief of Police.” …