Douglas Boyd (no relation to the director), conducting Garsington Orchestra and the Chorus of Garsington Opera, captures the don's reckless progress with swift tempi and vivid solo work, those instrumental comments adding to the murmuring throng around the dissolute count.
Don Giovanni's hangers-on and challengers are driven back. Photo: Johan Persson
Donna Anna has been assaulted by Giovanni, Donna Elvira jilted. Man servant Leporello is taken advantage of and regularly duffed up. Servant Zerlina nearly loses her fiancé over him. Oh, and he has killed Anna's dad. A day moves fast in this corner of Spain (or wherever. Or everywhere.)
As the don's actions become more and more extreme, the music madder and madder, so too do the don's artworks. Even his last dinner, a KFC takeaway, is squirted in blood-red ketchup until there is more sauce than supper.
The youthful drive of the cast is the genuine article, and if that means some vocal insecurities, notably in Camila Titinger's Donna Anna and Paul Whelan's Commendatore, the dividend is a zest that can't be faked. Sky Ingram's furious Donna Elvira simmers to a raging boil, David Ireland's Leporello is genuinely funny and firm-voiced, and as the Don himself, Jonathan McGovern is urbane and infuriating.
Camila Titinger (Donna Anna) and Trystan Llŷr Griffiths (Don Ottavio) vow revenge. Photo: Johan Persson
Around these principals cavort a bunch of fun-loving hangers-on, kicking up their baby-smooth heels in crazed dances. Choreography and movement by Liz Ranken gives this production a special energy, and fight director Terry King lays on some spectacular punch-ups.
Trystan Llŷr Griffiths sings a tender Don Ottavio with character, and Thomas Faulkner's Masetto makes you want to hear much more from this fine bass voice.
This is the most exciting and well thought-through Don Giovanni I have seen for years. Like Kasper Holten's Royal Opera House Don Giovanni (returning on 16 September), the show ends with the don's demise, and without the resolution of the other characters. You just have to sing it in your head on the way to the train home. But you will have had a wonderful adventure, nonetheless.
Don Giovanni is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Prices include voluntary £70 donation per ticket. Further performances on 30 May; 1, 7, 13, 24, and 29 June; 3, 6, 12, 14, 18 and 21 July. Pre-performance talk 4:15PM, Friday 7 June,
|What||Don Giovanni, Garsington Opera review|
|Where||Garsington Opera, Wormsley Estate , Stokenchurch, HP14 3YG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Marylebone (underground)|
30 May 19 – 21 Jul 19, 12 performances; includes long dinner interval
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|