Florentine Opera Stages a Rousing 'Don Giovanni'
The Florentine Opera’s production of Don Giovanni was a rousing tribute to one of Mozart’s most sophisticated operas. Creative staging intrigued the audience from the outset as mummified maidens covered in white appeared and long strips on runners with lists of the Don’s conquests descended from the rafters.
The attractive young cast performed the difficult score with varying degrees of success, but the overall effect was infectious and gratifying. Alexander Dobson’s Don Giovanni painted a sinister picture of the role with a stern tensile delivery, somewhat light in bass notes, but he looked stunning on stage, even in the bare-chested finale. Musa Ngqungwana slid easily into the pivotal role of Leporello, the obliging foil for his master’s whims, without placing much strain on his vocal powers. Emily Fons shone as the angry Donna Elvira with her secure, bright, ringing soprano.
Performance values are critical in any Mozart and if Emily Birsan as Donna Anna forced her high notes towards stridency, and if Ariana Douglas was too light toned as Zerlina, both brought conviction and charm to their roles. Leroy Davis made a fine Masetto with his confident bass tones, but Brian Stucki as Don Ottavio seemed too tentative in the placement of his warm tenor voice.
David Leigh’s Commendatore, with his stunningly overwhelming bass notes, reminded hearers of the full-bodied heft missing in the vocalization of some of the other male performers, but with Mozart you don’t always get the full package. The demands are too great. The inspired, no-holds-barred production carried the night.