; Royal Opera's Don Giovanni Season Opener
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Royal Opera's Don Giovanni Season Opener

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									                         British Youth Opera’s La rondine
Photo: Clive Barda




                         Puccini’s La rondine, which opened on 5         response should have had more impact.                enged couples from Nicky Spence and Colette
                     September at the Peacock Theatre, evokes the            As the second couple, the poet Prunier and       Boushell, Aaron Alphonsus McAuley and
                     demi-monde of 19th century France, and the          Magda’s maid Lisette, Thomas Herford and             Charlotte Stephenson, and from Emma Carr-
                     swallow of its title is Magda, mistress of the      Sadhbh Dennedy created a more deeply felt            ington a telling cameo of the older woman
                     rich Rambaldo, who flies away with a penni-         relationship and sang with warmth and charm.         searching for new love. Bridget Kimak’s clear-
                     less younger lover, Ruggero. Needless to say it     Jonathan Sells, impressed as the supercilious        cut designs supplied the sparing background
                     all goes pear-shaped when she realises she can      Rambaldo.                                            to this perceptive production, purposefully
                     never be accepted into a respectable bourgeois          Leaping forward to the 20th century,             conducted by Nicholas Cleobury.
                     family. The first two acts, in Magda’s salon and    Jonathan Dove’s Flight, given on 6 September,                                   MARGARET DAVIES
                     Bullier’s nightclub, are richly melodic and the     is inspired by the true story of a refugee
                     action full of incident, though as performed in     stranded without papers in Charles de Gaulle               Royal Opera’s Don Giovanni
                     a reduced orchestration by the Southbank            airport where, in April de Angelis’s libretto, his               Season Opener
                     Sinfonia under Peter Robinson their full pot-       personal tragedy impinges on the lives of
                     ential was diminished. Also the fussy prod-         travelers thrown together overnight when                    pening nights of a new Season at the
                     uction, in his own set designs, by John Lloyd
                     Davies implied a lack of faith in the score to
                                                                         flights are cancelled by electrical storms. There
                                                                         is also electricity in the relationships between
                                                                                                                              O      Royal Opera House always stirs feelings
                                                                                                                              of excitement and anticipation. This was true
                     make its effects.                                   the passengers and the crew members, grad-           on 8 September for the third revival from 2002
                         In the title role, Meeta Raval displayed an     ually diffused in the course of various encoun-      of Francesco Zambello’s production of Mozart’s
                     exuberant personality and her soprano proj-         ters involving the Refugee, developed in Dove’s      Don Giovanni. In association with the Sun
                     ected strongly, but her characterisation lacked     gripping score.                                      newspaper, the Helen Hamlyn Foundation
                     emotional depth. She rather swamped Telman              There are rewarding roles for the singers,       sponsored low cost tickets for the newspaper’s
                     Guzhevsky’s portrayal of Ruggero; he started        headed by the all-powerful Controller perched        readers in their continuing effort to expose
                     edgily, his tenor not fully controlled, but sang    high over the scene, in a musically dominant         opera to more diverse audiences. The 2,200
                     ardently once settled in without managing to        performance of the stratospheric vocal line by       Sun readers who attended were enthusiastic in
                     float notes softly in his duets with Magda.         Verity Parker, and the Refugee, hauntingly sung      their enjoyment partnered by quiet attentive-
                     Their joint inexperience no doubt let down          by the counter-tenor Andrew Radley. The              ness. No mobiles ringing and no coughing. Is
                     their acting in the third act where Magda’s         director Martin Lloyd-Evans also obtained            it only regular opera goers who feel the need to
        
								
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