Performance Review: Modern presentation of ‘Don Giovanni’ has plenty for the purists to enjoy too


Don Ottavio pointing a gun at Léporello

There was a full house at Copenhagen Opera House for ‘Don Giovanni’ on Saturday night. The presentation was not flawless, but the audience seemed to enjoy it from the start until the very end, and that’s what matters, right?

A luxury hotel with disturbing employees provided a modern setting, but there’s no doubt that the story brought to the audience was still the classical opera Mozart wrote.

Plenty to praise
The casting choices were spot on. Palle Kundsen’s charisma perfectly suited Don Giovanni’s character, while Kyungil Ko as Léporello demonstrated his impressive ability to sing regardless of where he might be standing, sitting or lying – in one case flat on his belly – and fighting.

The realism of the props should also be praised – from the water in the fountain, to the gunshots and cigarettes – as well as the use of lighting and video effects, which succeeded in rendering an atmosphere you could not have achieved otherwise.

Another nice touch was the way musicians came onto the stage for specific  scenes, again bringing more life to the set.

A few drawbacks though
On the downside, some dress choices were questionable, and the singing was lacking from time to time – particularly from some of the male characters.

Some of the death scenes were striking, but it was rarely truly breath-taking like good opera should be.

It also seems appropriate to say that there is some nudity, even if this is not a detail of great importance.