The Royal Academy of Music's opera programme goes from strength to strength, and the new theatre which opens in March will be a huge boost for this excellent post graduate opera course. Yesterday evening I was at the Round Chapel in Hackney for a hugely enjoyable production of Don Giovanni - and it is clear that they have a really good vintage of young singers at their disposal to give us two Don Giovanni casts. I heard the first night group but if past experience is anything to go by there will be little to choose between to two teams.
There was a formidable Donna Anna from Carrie-Ann Williams (who had been in the Sazburg Young Artists programme last year) and a hugely promising Leporello from Michael Mofidian - splendid both vocally and in his engagement with the character. To be watched! But the truth is that this strong cast included other fin young artists so chapeau! also to Nicholas Mogg, Emilie Cavallo, Ilona Revolskaya, Emanuel Heitz, Darwin Leonard Prakash and Thomas Bennett. More will be heard from each of them. This is a very strong international line up and says much for the drawing power and accomplishments of the RAM.
Gareth Hancock conducted a wholly engaging musical performance coping with the the tricky circumstances in the Round Chapel - and the ever creative Christopher Cowell directed with his designer Bridget Kimak (the team responsible for our Chicago Semele back in 2002!) t produce fast moving production full of interesting ideas - a treat for anyone who has seen 100 or more different productions of this opera!
The devil is so often in the detail - so it is worth pointing out that there was some astonishingly beautiful playing of the mandolin in Don Giovanni's serenade from Bradley Johnson. A niche perhaps but my goodness a star!
Lovely crisp sunny day out there here in London. I am now off for a lunch date!