Don Giovanni - WNO - Mayflower Southampton

Don Giovanni is the story of Opera's ultimate seducer. Set to the music of Mozart, it's a show that has wowwed audiences for decades, and continues to stand the test of time. The Welsh National Opera never fail to create a great adaptation of Opera's and their version of this handsome Lothario's tale is no exception. Featuring as part of their Spring 2022 season, I was invited to see it take to the Mayflower, Southampton stage. 


As previously mentioned, I am a bit of an Opera novice, having enjoyed my first foray into the theatrical genre in Autumn 2021 whilst watching WNO's Madam Butterfly. Whilst that story is clearly a modern retelling, the one of Don Giovanni stills to a visually traditional tale. With surtitles in English at the top of the stage, you are able to enjoy the beautiful singing whilst understanding what is going on (the show is sung in Italian). 

Based on the legend of Don Juan, this Spanish golden age Opera introduces you to Don Giovanni, a man who seeks to bed every woman he places his eyes upon. With a book of conquests reaching over 2,000 he sets his sights for a conquest that ends in murder. With his right hand man Leporello on his side, he must escape those that are seeking vengeance upon him, including his ex-wife Donna Elvira, and the newly wed couple Zerlina and Masetto. On his journey to bed the women of the world Don Giovanni must face up to the path of destruction he has left behind before he reaches his demise. 

Visually this show is stunning. With a set that transports you to the dark corners of Spain, to the elegant costumes that stand out against this darkened background. Don Giovanni himself is thrown into the spotlight in his gleaming white suit, whilst the women are dressed in elegant ballgowns that look like they could have graced the dance floors of any grand balls. Whilst this comedic tragedy is dark in nature, there was enough humour within the staging, props and acting that really helped even the most novice of Opera goers enjoy themselves.

Taking on the challenge of the main man himself was Duncan Rock, a British baritone that oozed both equal measures of arrogance and sophistication as he won the hearts of each and every woman that graced the stage. Matched to Rock was Joshua Bloom who took to the stage as Leporello and brought every bit of character and humour with the small nuances in both voice and acting. The perfect duo to take on these incredible roles. 

Meeta Raval blew me away with the sassy, female empowerment she portrayed in the role of Donna Elvira. Each time she came on stage I sat on the edge of my seat as her singing was nothing short of perfection. Joining Raval was Linda Richardson and Harriet Eyley who played Donna Anna and Zerlina, the mourning woman and the newly wed who are seduced by Don Giovanni. Both put on an incredible performance and played the characters with the perfect blend of vulnerable and vengeful. 

Don Giovanni is a show that is not only a perfect introduction to Opera, but also one that stands the test of time. It's story telling makes the 3 hour performance feel like it lasted 30 minutes as you are swept away on the journey with the performers. A show that is most certainly adult in it's content, but a brilliant show nonetheless. On at the Mayflower, Southampton for May 11/12, it is followed by Madam Butterfly and will then continue on a UK tour. 

For more information and to buy tickets: WNO Don Giovanni

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