When Don Giovanni's servant, Leporello sings of a thousand disturbing thoughts, I couldn't help thinking that director, Alessandro Talevi had visualised this concept more than any words could explain. His interpretation of Mozart's tale of the womanising Giovanni for Opera North is both sinister and surreal - magnifying the lust, greed and power that drives the story.
William Dazeley, plays the lead as an undoubted villain throughout. He is clearly psychopathic, and save for his singing, it's hard to see why any woman would fall for him. Yet, fall for him they do, whatever era he finds himself in, be it Victorian, 1950s, 1980s or now. Giovanni’s power over women is timeless, and Talevi has woven in some extra magic, allowing him to turn the peasants into pigs and open doors with the wave of his cane.
Giovanni plays the other characters like puppets, emphasised in a series of quirky Punch and Judy style scenes. Yet, Giovanni is not the only one who isn’t what he seems. Deceit is everywhere in this interpretation. From the start Don Ottavio, is seen gleefully stealing from the Commendatore’s murdered body, before declaring his undying love for the dead man’s daughter.
It’s dark and nasty, but it is also visually very appealing, fun and racy, with a sex scene that will probably divide opinion, except on the deserved applause for Claire Wild’s energetic performance as keen to please, newly-wed, Zerlina.