Norton-Hale Translates Don Further at WOS Q&ADate: 16 August 2011
Last night 100 Whatsonstage.com theatregoers made their way to the Soho Theatre for our Group Outing to Don Giovanni, the latest offering from OperaUpClose who brought us La Boheme last year and which also made for a fantastic Outing. With many theatregoers having been to that Outing we were all intrigued to see what this dynamic company could do with one of Mozart's best known opera.
The bill promises a heady mix of sex, drugs, and Mozart and on that it certainly delivers. Telling the story of dapper villian Johnny (Marc Callahan) we're horrified and drawn in by his late night wanderings through Soho in search of new women and experiences. Trailing behind him is his reluctant intern Alexander (Tom Stoddart), trapped by his own desire for success and his complicity in Johnny's wicked deeds. There's murder, mayhem and madness all wrapped in wonderful and haunting arias which are handled beautifully by this talented cast. With the setting brought forward to a Soho of the 90s where the coke runs free and there's money to spend; and a live electronic score which introduces modern rhythms and beats to replace a full orchestra (the rest of the original music being produced only on a piano) this is a thoroughly contemporary and exciting piece.
Following the performance two thirds of Whatsonstage.com theatregoers stayed for a really interesting and enlightening Q&A. we were joined by translator and director Robin Norton-Hale who spoke candidly about the difficulties of translating - "where to start" - but the value of being in the rehearsal space as director, seeing what works and what doesn't. The cast members who joined us, Fleur Bray (who plays Anna) and Rosalind Coad (Elvira), commented on Norton-Hales willingness to allow changes to the piece where necessary and the difficulites and pleasures of singing this opera in English rather than Italian. Harry Blake, who creates the live electronic score, gave us a view into the technical side of things explaining how to modernise the music while staying true to the orginial rhythms.
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Thanks for joining us for this event, and do check the homepage to keep up to date on all of our upcoming Outings.