Opera Scotland

Don Giovanni 1995Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Don Giovanni

Scottish Opera's season for 1995-96 contained some new productions that were highly memorable, though most were not seen again and none survived for long. After the Edinburgh Festival, where the new staging of The Jacobin opened, there was a very strongly cast small-scale, piano-accompanied tour of La bohème. The main subscription season contained The Jacobin and new stagings of Don Giovanni, La belle Hélène and Hansel and Gretel. A revival of La traviata was followed by new productions of Alceste and Turandot.

John Cox was an excellent and experienced director of Mozart, and he had developed a habit of working with artists. This was hardly a new idea - after all, Diaghilev had employed great artists such as Bakst, Picasso and Rouault between the wars. Cox had, most famously, worked with David Hockney, first on The Rake's Progress, then Die Zauberflöte and Die Frau ohne Schatten. Perhaps his Rosenkavalier with Erté was less satisfying. At Covent Garden, Elijah Moshinsky also directed Samson et Dalila with wonderful designs by the great Australian artist Sir Sydney Nolan. The combination of Cox's ideas with those of 'Glasgow Boy' painter Peter Howson, recently returned from a stint as a war artist in the Balkans, was an appetising prospect when it was announced that they would work on Don Giovanni.

The cast assembled was also wonderful on paper, led by the young Swede Peter Mattei, already accepted to be star material, and here making his British debut. The Leporello was also a new name. Neill Archer was a brilliant young Mozartian, and the three ladies, including an emerging Scotttish star, Lisa Milne as Zerlina, were a tantalising group.

Perhaps it was inevitable that it would be a slight disappointment - generally very good, but not the classic version audiences had hoped for. Most elements worked well, and the production was at least worth reviving, unlike the other stagings of this difficult work that the company had tried in recent years. However some elements of the design were clumsy, and the mainly modern aspect - Giovanni in army fatigues and armed to the teeth - didn't really work. The drama hung fire. At least this staging deserved, and achieved, a revival, unlike most of the company's other attempts at staging this horribly difficult piece.

Performance Cast

Leporello Giovanni's servant

Yanni Yannissis

Don Giovanni a young nobleman

Peter Mattei

Donna Anna the Commendatore's daughter

Francesca Pedaci

Commendatore an elderly aristocrat

Andrea Silvestrelli

Don Ottavio engaged to Anna

Neill Archer

Donna Elvira a lady from Burgos

Joan Rodgers

Zerlina a peasant girl

Lisa Milne

Masetto a peasant, engaged to Zerlina

Neal Davies

Performance DatesDon Giovanni 1995

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

6 Sep, 19.15 9 Sep, 19.15 26 Oct, 19.15 31 Oct, 19.15

Theatre Royal, Newcastle | Newcastle-upon-Tyne

11 Nov, 19.15 14 Nov, 19.15 17 Nov, 19.15

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

22 Nov, 19.15 24 Nov, 19.15

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