Don Giovanni goes on the rails

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Cast of Don Giovanni with director Alasdair Kitchen

I know that many people wonder how it is possible to stage an opera properly in a modest theatre in a school in Rye, and perhaps I can understand their feelings, but if any of those nay-sayers and sceptics had been standing and cheering with us in the Milligan Theatre last Saturday night after the Euphonia company’s brilliant production of Don Giovanni, they would have had all their doubts swept aside.

Don Giovanni at Dress Rehearsal
Don Giovanni at Dress Rehearsal

It was such a joy, and easily a match for anything seen on much grander stages. The superb professional young cast and orchestra assembled by Alisdair Kitchen (pictured seated), the director and conductor, and the driving force behind Euphonia, would grace any auditorium.

Don Giovanni was originally set in 18th century Spain, but Alisdair Kitchen has surprisingly set his Don Giovanni on a 20th century railway train and, to my amazement, it works really well. You’d have thought that that was how Mozart intended it.

The wonderful cast includes soprano Ranveig Káradóttir, who returns to Rye after appearing in La Traviata last year, and she, along with Turiya Haudenhuyse as Donna Elvira and Jerome Knox were my particular favourites, but it is invidious of me to single out anyone in so talented a cast; they were all excellent.

But why am I cruelly telling you all about a brilliant performance which you have apparently missed? Well, because for the first time at The Rye Arts Festival there are to be two performances of the opera and there is an opportunity for all who missed last Saturday’s performance to see it on September 26 and perhaps for some of us to see it again. If you did miss it first time round, don’t make the same mistake twice.

Photos : KT Bruce