Review: Don Giovanni, Grand Theatre, Leeds

John Savournin as Leporello in Opera North's Don Giovanni '� Bill Cooper
John Savournin as Leporello in Opera North's Don Giovanni '� Bill Cooper

Don Giovanni

Grand Theatre, Leeds

Although this production must have been programmed well before the #MeToo protests took over the news agenda, Opera North’s sparkling revival of Mozart’s devastating examination of predatory male sexual behaviour could scarcely be more timely.

William Dazeley’s Don is an uncanny reminder of the procession of powerful men with sleazy pasts who have dominated the news bulletins recently, but director Alessandro Talevi resists the temptation to labour the point. His production is not only topical but also entertaining, imaginative, beautifully sung and at times very funny.

It is based around the clever conceit that Giovanni can manipulate all the other characters like puppets - until he meets a theatrically-spectacular fate when someone else starts pulling the strings.

Outstanding in an excellent cast is Sheffield’s own John Savournin as the Don’s long-suffering but crafty servant Leporello.

Mozart compensates the Don’s female victims by handing them his most sublime tunes, and Jennifer Davis (Donna Anna), Elizabeth Atherton (Donna Elvira) and Kathryn Rudge (Zerlina) all respond impressively.

The action timeshifts from the 19th century to the 1950s to the present day for no obvious reason other than to demonstrate that Giovanni’s reprehensible behaviour has always been around and probably always will be.

*Philip Andrews