Rob Garner commands the role of the rake, even doing a respectable turn at a sword fight. (Here he is with another Taci superstar, Brad Cresswell.) Garner’s sonorous Deh vieni all finestra, o mio tesoro had tenderness and soul. His descent into hell was thrillingly hammy.
It’s only a measure of my respect for this handsome baritone that I felt some distress when he removed his tricorn hat and his curly, pony-tailed wig seemed momentarily flattened down. Don Giovanni would be nothing without his right hand man, Leporello. Tenor Frederic Rice was extraordinary as Leporello, squeezing every comic possibility from the role. He was somewhat apologetic, rather than boastful, as he sang Madamina, il catalogo è questo.
The don’s women are either paid supplicants back at his palace or noblewomen and peasants alike who are understandably angry at his behavior. Victoria Wefer, Iris Karlin, and Sarah Moulton Faux were full-throttle as Donna Anna, Donna Elvira, and Zerlina. The Amore production suggests that the clown Leporello gets together in the end with one of Giovanni’s exes, the sadly pregnant young Donna Elvira, offering a happy future at least for these two.
If any stage production in New York City deserved a standing ovation that day it was this engrossing, faithful, and fleet production by Nathan Hull. But most of the sold-out audience was too old to jump to their feet. That’s the thing about opera. Amore Opera tries to expand the audience by offering witty productions with a revolving cast, well-matched subtitles, and charming sets. It goes without saying that tickets cost a fraction of what they do at the Met. Amore is looking for a new home, unfortunately losing the gemlike Connelly theatre in the East Village. Hurry to see them there.