REVIEW: DON GIOVANNI Royal Opera House Covent Garden

PUBLISHED: 14:59 24 September 2008 | UPDATED: 15:25 07 September 2010

Three star rating It isn t often that the audience is more interesting than the performers in an opera house, but last week s opening night of the new Covent Garden season was one such occasion thanks to a deal

DON GIOVANNI

Royal Opera House

Covent Garden

Three star rating

It isn't often that the audience is more interesting than the performers in an opera house, but last week's opening night of the new Covent Garden season was one such occasion thanks to a deal that made every seat available to readers of the Sun for as little as £7.50.

A fascinating social experiment that replaced the usual sober-suited bankers in the stalls with office parties on the razzle, dressed to kill by Moss Bros, it engineered a total change of atmosphere within the auditorium. And not by any means a bad one.

The show itself was standard stuff - a revival of an old Don Giovanni with sets like a revolving public toilet, periodically exciting power-singing from Joyce DiDonato, and Simon Keenlyside on less-than-best form as a weasly, awkward-looking Don with bad hair. But the audience response was ecstatically keen, following every move and word with the curiosity of people who'd never seen anything like this before. Which, presumably, they hadn't.

It was a complete joy, and not least because it was infectious. I'd forgotten what it was to laugh at the jokes in Giovanni. And I'd virtually forgotten (like too many stage directors these days) that the piece is half a comedy: a dramma giocoso.

So I'm truly grateful to the readers of the Sun for laughing uninhibitedly throughout - with raucous mirth the bankers wouldn't dare display. They were examples to us all to come to art with innocence and openness. I'm glad they had a good time. Hopefully they'll come again. And hopefully the Royal Opera House will make them welcome.

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