The Victorian Opera’s presentation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the ageing National Theatre in St Kilda is a fresh, lively and highly enjoyable version of this popular work. The mostly young cast throw themselves into the singing and acting enthusiasm and considerable talent – even if there are the occasional missed notes. In his first major role, Samuel Dundas does a fine job as the caddish womanising Don and gets admirable support from the maturity of Andrew Collis as his manservant Leporello. Similarly the experience and maturity of Tiffany Speight as Donna Elvira provides a good balance to the burgeoning – but not yet fully blossomed – talent of Michelle Buscemi as gypsy girl Zerlina. James Egglestone was once again in fine voice as Don Ottavio.
Director Jean-Pierre Mignon gave a stripped down setting and did away with the excesses of several recent versions by other companies and turned the deus ex machina denouement into something rather more credible and acceptable than is the norm. However, there seemed to be little point in twice crowding the stage with a bizarre group of musicians who showed little stage presence and added nothing to the story.
Conductor and musical director Richard Gill whipped his band along at a sprightly pace and added further zing to a lively and cheering night at the opera. Bravo!