“Updating is more or less de rigueur in today's operatic circles and Madrid once again comes up with the goods in a wholly plausible re-siting of Giovanni to 1940s Spain. The transfer of the various scenes is by and large convincing and Lluis Pasquel's perceptive ideas about the characters illuminate afresh the familiar story, with the opera's saturnine side very much to the fore. Carlos Álvarez, a Giovanni recalling in voice George London in the part, wholly dominates this opera with a nasty, driven reading of the lecher and bully. Like London, he sings with dark-hued intensity throughout. His must be the best Don about today. By his side is Lorenzo Regazzo as Leporello: he proves a wonderfully resourceful actor and singer, and a proper alter ego to his master. Their enactment of the cemetery scene is masterly in all respects. José Bros is a concerned Ottavio, whose longbreathed 'Il mio tesoro' is a wonder. Much the most exciting of the female singers is Sonia Ganassi's deeply felt, urgently sung Elvira, her 'Mi tradì' a bravura performance. María Bayo seems over-parted and uninteresting as Anna, and the Zerlina is ordinary, as is her Masetto. Underlining the whole venture is the keenly shaped, fast-moving musical direction of Victor Pablo Pérez, a conductor obviously worth watching. Speeds are on the fast side, welcome in this long work and well tailored to the cast. The Madrid Symphony is its customary alert self. The same can be said for Robin Lough's video direction.”
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