What’s your favourite moment in the opera?
I think the best part is the revelation to the other characters of Leporello being dressed up as Don Giovanni (Sextet, Act 2). There’s also such a twist in the music – dramatically, it’s very difficult to make it real. The way Alessandro has set it means that different eras are involved, and it shows the audience who Donna Elvira really is. Even with all the gorgeous arias, that feels like the best bit for me – not least because we’re all involved in it, too, and all together, not in individual groups, as in so many other parts of the opera.
What have you particularly enjoyed in rehearsals for Don Giovanni?
Alessandro is a ‘doing’ director and we can also talk about everything – everything he does stems from the text and from the score, which is so important. He’s very visually oriented, which is very different from some of the projects I’ve been involved with. And you’re working together – it’s fifty-fifty all the way. It’s oriented around something that suits you as a performer.
Don Ottavio has two famous arias (‘Dalla sua pace’ and ‘Il mio tesoro’), originally from two different versions Mozart wrote of Don Giovanni. In this production, you'll be singing 'Dalla sua pace,' but if you had to choose one, which one would it be?
Tough question. I like singing both of them. I used to find ‘Il mio tesoro’ easier when I was at college, but an interesting thing has happened since staging ‘Dalla sua pace’ in this production – I do think it’s the ultimate tenor aria, although I love the dramatic drive of the other one, the music changes so much. In ‘Dalla sua pace’, you have a real A-B-A form; it’s very suspended. Our staging echoes that structure – a feeling is expressed (A), another thought enters (B) and that feeling is reiterated (A). Doing the aria on stage has really changed my opinion.
Don Giovanni opens at Leeds Grand Theatre on Friday 28 September, before touring to The Lowry, Salford Quays, Theatre Royal Newcastle and Theatre Royal Nottingham. For more information, dates and to book tickets, click here.
Interview: Dr Kara McKechnie
Photo: Christopher Turner (Don Ottavio), Elizabeth Atherton (Donna Elvira) and Meeta Raval (Donna Anna) in Don Giovanni. Photo credit: Robert Workman