Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

Opera Della Luna is the country's only full time professional company dedicated to comic opera. Mozart'’s Don Giovanni is farcical in tone but ends with the ‘hero’ being dragged to hell. It is then an example of ‘dramma giocoso’ - a mix of comic and serious action.

By modern standards, the eponymous Don - whose licentious existence mirrors that of randy librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte - would be labelled a sex addict (the programme notes include a quote from Russell Brand.) As the eponymous Don, the splendidly swaggering Andrew Rock appears to be aping Brand in his attire - flowing locks, leather pants and frock coats. Yes, he rocks.

This modern translation is clear, dexterously played, and impeccably sung by the nine strong cast. It’s a breezy production and an ideal introduction to those who might consider opera too stuffy for their tastes. Unfortunately, Jeff Clarke hobbles his cast by having an ugly, box-like walkway dominate the stage: the orchestra, situated in full audience view, takes up further space. On several occasions, the cast appear hemmed in and, with limited opportunity for movement, simply stand in a line and sing out.

Act 1 closes with Don Attavio (Tyler Clarke), Donna Anna (Victoria Joyce) and Donna Elvira (Julie Unwin), arriving at Giovanni’'s party in disguise; a sequence filled with delightful visual flourishes, and one which left me wanting more. Clarke is clearly gifted but the overall impression is of a director reigning himself in. Next time, he should be less deferential.

- Steve Timms