Don Giovanni review: an entertaining and delightful production

by Andrea Gaini


A delightful opera season could not have been ended in a better way by the Welsh National Opera. If La Forza del Destino and Tosca were two great productions, Don Giovanni was simply greater in every sense. Mozart’s beautiful composition was highlighted and honoured with an all-round gorgeous creation at the Wales Millennium Centre.

The opera focuses on the life of the ‘seducer’, as Kierkegaard would call him, Don Giovanni, going around the Spanish country to spread his “love”. After the beautifully performed overture, the curtains open on a very eventful first scene where Don Giovanni (Gavan Ring) tries to rape Donna Anna (Emily Birsan) and eventually kills her father who had challenged him to respond for his actions. Don Giovanni is an insatiable man and spends the entire length of the show hitting on many different women and causing their and their relatives’ anger against him. Eventually, he will have to pay for his unmoral actions while the other characters laugh at him.

Gavan Ring is an impressive Don Giovanni; his voice is brilliant and precise, while his natural interpretation of the character makes his whole performance at the highest level possible. Together with David Stout (Leporello), the couple leads, with great energy, the show forward making the three-hour long opera go by very quickly. All the other characters are just as majestic: from Donna Elvira’s vibrant top notes to the Commendatore’s resonant low range, the cast gives colour and life to this masterpiece.

Emily Birsan (Donna Anna) and Miklós Sebestyén (Commendatore)

The setting, which some have called “simplistic”, gives, in my opinion, great fluidity and lightness to the scenes which are always entertaining and eye-catching. The only slight downside I could spot was during the final scene of the first act where I didn’t find the lighting particularly fitting that well with the singing and music.

The beautiful Italian pronunciation of the entire cast is very enjoyable, and it is possible to understand everything without reading the subtitles (if you speak Italian lol), the cherry to top a delicious cake which was Don Giovanni.