What’s your favourite moment in the opera?
I think it’s in the Act 2 sextet when she comes in with Ottavio and sings ‘Lascia, lascia la mia pena’ (‘leave me to my pain’). I love that moment! I think there’s something....it just touches me to the core, just like Puccini would strike emotionally. I think Mozart can be quite cerebral at times, but just in that moment everything stops, you get an insight into Anna’s character, and that change of key as well…!
What have you particularly been enjoying in rehearsals?
This is my first major role for Opera North and to be able to invent this character together with Alessandro in this production….every day it’s a joy to come in because a) I’m doing something that I love and b) I’m being creative and I’m trying to mould this character in a way that Meeta Raval becomes Donna Anna. It’s not one specific thing, it’s everything. Even on difficult days, when it gets tiring, I still enjoy it because you’re discovering things and making changes all the time.
Donna Anna is a troubled character. Any advice you, as Meeta, would give her?
She is troubled in that she’s lost her father, but I think in a way she has security in her status and she’s been brought up as a noblewoman. She’s incredibly moral. If you were to compare Donna Anna to, say, Zerlina, who can be double-faced and opportunistic – she goes off with Don Giovanni and then comes back and so on. Donna Elvira is always clinging to Don Giovanni, she really needs a guy! Donna Anna is alright to be in her own skin – she’s not chasing anyone. She’s after vengeance: this guy has killed her father. But she still goes about it with her dignity intact, in a well-bred way, as it were.
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 (above): Alessandro Talevi (director), Meeta Raval (Donna Anna) and Christopher Turner (Don Ottavio). Photography: Malcolm Johnson