Top-class opera on stage in Milton Keynes

A scene from Don Giovanni

A scene from Don Giovanni

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Glyndebourne Review by Hannah Richardson

How lucky are we in this area to be able to access world-class opera right on our doorstep?

MADAMA BUTTERFLY by Puccini

MADAMA BUTTERFLY by Puccini

Milton Keynes Theatre regularly hosts tours from both Glyndebourne and Welsh National Opera.

And this week Glyndebourne is performing two well-known works, Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.

I opted to see Don Giovanni, as it was an opera I’d not seen performed before.

Be warned – it’s long. It’s also a lot more grisly than I expected.

Don Giovanni is the tale of an incorrigible rake who seduces every woman he meets – or attempts to – and then abandons them, and appears to be virtually irresistible to females.

There’s humour along the way, as one woman under another falls under his spell and he even tries to seduce a new bride on her wedding day, right under the groom’s nose.

When the father of one of his victims confronts him, Giovanni murders him, and this ultimately leads to his come-uppance in the final scenes, when a very macabre ghost emerges from his grave to wreak his revenge.

I wouldn’t say this is one of my favourite operas, but the performance was magnificent.

The production, directed by Jonathan Kent, is set in the 1950s and sung in Italian with English surtitles.

Giovanni, played by Duncan Rock, was believably good looking, the acting was good, with nice comic interludes and the singing was superb, particularly during the beautiful quartets and duets.

The set, based around a ‘box’ that opened on to different scenes, was clever and effective.

I particularly enjoyed Brandon Cedel’s performance as Giovanni’s rascally manservant, Magdalena Molendowska as the betrayed Donna Elvira, and Anthony Gregory’s lovely voice in the role of Don Ottavio.

The last performance of Don Giovanni is tomorrow, Friday, and the last performance of Madama Butterfly is on Saturday.

Box office: 0844 871 7652 or see www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes