Kasper Holten’s legacy to the Royal Opera includes this 2014 production of Mozart’s dark comedy, which had a pretty mixed reception first time around but registers more positively at its third revival.
This is partly due to a sterling cast, though Myrtò Papatanasiu – a late replacement for Christine Rice as Elvira – is vocally uneven.
At the centre is Erwin Schrott’s Giovanni – a star performance if ever there was one, and unusually perceptive in that the Uruguayan bass-baritone clearly understands that the serial seducer has no sense of guilt. Singing with grand tone, and cutting a convincing romantic dash, he wins every trick.
He’s ably seconded by Roberto Tagliavini, whose vividly articulated performance makes his Leporello the perfect alter-ego sidekick.
Malin Byström provides a Donna Anna on a heroic scale, while at her side Daniel Behle is a gentlemanly Don Ottavio – the perfect antithesis of the sociopathic antihero.
Unusually prominent are the lower-class couple, with Louise Alder making light work of her two arias and teaming ideally with the easily outwitted Masetto of Leon Kosavic. Brindley Sherratt represents vocal and moral authority as the Commendatore, whether alive or in his appearances from beyond the grave.
Conductor Hartmut Haenchen’s approach combines drama with surefooted musicianship and the orchestra is on fine form.
Covered throughout the evening with video images by Luke Halls, Es Devlin’s busy set has felt intrusively hyperactive on previous viewings, but at this revival directed by Jack Furness the show has a more consistent focus than hitherto.