We queued up with a legion of wrinklies and crumblies this afternoon for a dress-rehearsal production of DG in
This was refreshing, and it worked, and it was enough to carry the main event. Which was a good thing, because a lot of the other pieces didn’t connect. As Mrs. Buce was quick to point out, the production as a whole lacked the ambivalence that you need to make it truly unnerving. By all accounts the Don is a great seducer but you don’t get that many babes unless you are either (a) a world-class basketball player; or (b) a bad boy with a large dollop of sexual magnetism. The Don here obviously wasn’t competing in class (a) and he really didn’t seem to have it for class (b); he was, as Mrs. B said (rather dismissively, I thought) “trailer trash.”
This is important not just for the Don himself but for those round him: you want to believe it when Donna Elvira discovers that she may be just a teensy bit in love with him. And when Donna Anna sets out to take her vengeance against him, you want to feel that she feels that she might be just a little bit complicit in all his crime.
This didn’t come off in this performance, and it’s too bad: the performance has a lot going for it. But in the end, it’s such a great opera that almost nothing can spoil it, and this one, if not perfect, was as long way from spoiled.
Afterthought—pleasant surprise: Luca Pisaroni as Massetto, the Ringo Starr of the majors in the show, made a lot out of not a great deal. It was his SFO debut and here’s wishing him many happy returns.