Opera Scotland

Don Giovanni 1906Carl Rosa Opera Company

Read more about the opera Don Giovanni

The Glasgow Herald (17 March) reviewed the production, explaining "The dominating influence in the Mozart performance of the Carl Rosa Company is Mr Charles Victor.  Mr Vistor's finished acting and infectious high spirits seem to inspire everybody on the stage.  The productions of Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni have had a freedom in performance that have been altogether refreshing.  The amorous tenor with a hand on his breast and slightly bent knees, the tragic bass with halting strut and forefinger pointing to the ground, the mincing leading lady, the throwing up of hands in the gallery on a final top-note, the conventional exits and entrances are accepted as necessary evils by the average opera lover.  Perhaps it is too much to expect the operatic artist to give up the appeal with extended arm to the gallery.  Even in last night's very satisfactory performance in the Grand Theatre, it was not altogether absent.  But for the rest, the piece was played with exceptional intelligence, and from the purely musical standpoint the work of principals, chorus and band left very little to be desired."

"Don Giovanni loses nothing by comparison with the many operas Glasgow has been hearing during the past fortnight.  It will always remain a masterpiece of masterpieces.  People who play games know very well the unfortunate kind of man who would set laws aside the moment they began to pinch him.  Composers of music are also bound by laws which, in the theatre, sometimes become very irksome. In new operas one is always interested to see how the composer will behave.  He is really called on to play two games at once - to write coherent music and to reflect a moving drama.  If he pay too much attention to the devlopment of musical themes, the drama may suffer.  if every person and action in the drama must have its musical equivalent it is hard to keep the music in a logical, organic form.  So in opera-writing there is much falling between two stools.  The modern composer, however, generally sets aside the purely musical laws in the interests of what he calls dramatic truth.  In any case, he feels, under pressure, that something must be sacrificed.  In Mozart the demands of both arts are almost perfectly met.  With all our progress, no composer no composer is at once so satisfying musically and dramatically.  The music of Don Giovanni can stand by itself as absolute music, perfect in finish, without a superfluous note.  Yet it gives us also the very essence of the drama. Don Giovanni, Leporello, Don Ottavio, Elvira, Donna Anna and Zerlina live for us in tones.  Each carries a different musical atmosphere.  The revelation and development of character by musical means has never been more triumphantly demonstrated.  If composers would study their Mozart along with their Wagner they might achieve better results. 

To Mr Vistor's performance we have already referred.  His Don Giovanni last night had all the reckless abandon that one associates with the character or the hero, whose gallantries have been more often sung than the good deeds of other men.  The three prima donnas were Mesdames Hanna Mara, Ina Hill, and Elizabeth Burgess.  Miss Mara's vibrato jarred occasionally Mozart's pure line, especially in running passages, but Donna Anna's music was generally well sung.  Miss Hill's Zerlina showed traces of inexperience; her solo in the third act was very prettily rendered.  Miss Burgess, as Elvira, was excellent all through the work.  One has nothing but praise for the Leporello of Mr Winckworth and the Don Ottavio of Mr Edward Davies.  The roles of the Commandant and Masetto were also in excellent hands, and the combined vocal and instrumental forces were skilfully directed by Mr Eugene Goossens.   Don Giovanni attracted a very large audience."

Performance Cast

Don Giovanni a young nobleman

Charles Victor

Don Ottavio engaged to Anna

Edward Davies

Donna Elvira a lady from Burgos

Elizabeth Burgess

Donna Anna the Commendatore's daughter

Hanna Mara

Leporello Giovanni's servant

Arthur Winckworth

Zerlina a peasant girl

Ina Hill

Production Cast

Conductor

Eugene Goossens II

Performance DatesDon Giovanni 1906

Map List

Grand Theatre, Glasgow | Glasgow

16 Mar, 00.00 24 Mar, 14.00

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