February 17, 2013

The Darling Music Experience: Don Giovanni and the Scathing Review

This weekend saw the final run of Don Giovanni Lite in the Darling Music Experience, an initiative to bring music (read "culture") to small towns in the Western Cape.

The musical director, Lisa Engelbrecht, took no time in rendering the first rolling notes of the gorgeous overture, immediately resurrecting my mental orchestra, and setting the tone for the rest of the performance.

The poster for the event leaves much to be desired,
but is oddly charming nonetheless.
Keeping up with the already high-set bar, Victoria Stevens, stole the show with her excellent choice of costume and hell-hath-no-fury-like-a-woman-scorned-attitude in her portrayal of the unfortunate Donna Elvira, wife (or perhaps this should be read as "long-time partner")  of the man-whore, Don Giovanni.

On par with this excellent performance was Janel Speelman, portraying the the young bride-to-be, Zerlina. Her rendition of Zerlina's aria, Batti, batti, delivered all and so much more than it promised, giving a fresh, impish edge to a character who can so easily be misconstrued as superfluous and superficial (gosh, lots of super here, but, in all fairness, the performance was just that excellent!). 

Special mention must also be made of Johannes Slabbert, and Phelo Nodlayiya, for their engaging performances as Leporello and Masetto, respectively. Perhaps this may sound a tad nitpicky, but I would rather have casted either of these two gentlemen as Don Giovanni, based on their acting and voices, and Sandile Sikhosana as Leporello.  But, hey, that's just my opinion, right? Right! Performances by Sandile Sikhosana as Don Giovanni, Nomsa Mpofu as Donna Anna and Makudpanyane Senaona as Don Ottavio also deserve special mention for their excellent singing and acting.

Casting roles aside, I shall conclude as thus: great script for a first-time audience -- very engaging! Great direction from the director great acting and interaction with the audience (I especially found Masetto tying to "attack" me as HILARIOUS and Leporello inviting various ladies in the audience to the party as rather droll And then there was the volunteer who held up a window-pane for an ENTIRE aria -- the stuff of legend!) and, of course, awesome playing from the musical director -- an absolute pleasure to listen to! 

This coloured person salutes you all!


Biased Score: 52.9/100
Unbiased Score: 90.4/100
Final Score: 96.65/100

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