■ Amelia Scicolone (Zerlina) and Nikola Diskić (Don Giovanni) in Mannheim legs and pursued by naked blondes who resembled Niki de Saint Phalle’s exaggeratedly voluptuous sculptures, but the hilarity was punctured by the sight of the Commendatore’s coffin floating in the pool. Donna Anna was a Lady Gaga figure in a transparent minidress; Donna Elvira pushed a pram and was armed with soiled nappies; Giovanni importuned Zerlina (who looked like Barbarella) on the back of a huge pink sow, having got Masetto (a Magic Mike-style hunk with a washboard stomach) out of the way.
But Vasileva seemed to forget that the opera is also about life, death and pain. All this Don Giovanni did was knock the Commendatore over with a waterjet, and even Alexander Soddy’s conducting and fortepiano continuo lacked oomph and intensity. In Act 2 the production lost momentum and Giovanni eventually met his end when a giant foot bore down and crushed him with the overly pneumatic blondes piled beneath.
Nikola Diskić, boyish and bland in the title role, made his mark only in the Serenade. Patrick Zielke was a solid Leporello, Sung Ha a powerful Commendatore and Juraj Hollý a long-breathed, agile Ottavio, accorded both his arias. Ludovica Bello’s Elvira was indecisive and Estelle Kruger only really hit her stride in Donna Anna’s second aria, but Amelia Scicolone’s mercurial Zerlina was the discovery of the evening. rolf fath
Israel Akko The city of Akko has hosted the annual Other Theatre Festival during the religious festival of Succoth (September to October) for nearly 40 years and has more recently added classical music to the mix, with Zimriya, when choruses from all over Israel and beyond come together for performances and masterclasses, and now a four-day visit during August from the israeli opera. The crusaders’ court of the ancient Hospitallers’ Fortress was the venue for performances of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice (seen on August 2), in a production directed by Julia Pevzner, conducted by Ethan Schmeisser and crucially, given the acoustic challenges of outdoor performance, with sound design by Yuval Zilberstein.
Orfeo (Alon Harari) was dressed in a grey business suit and journeyed from the everyday world to the underworld in pursuit of his beloved Euridice (Alla Vasilevitsky), discovering when he found her that she was not as unhappy in her situation as might have been expected. She and Hades, along with Amor (Yael Levita) were running a sado-maso event. All three singers in the principal roles gave committed performances,
Opera, December 2018