Don Giovanni: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1787)

151105 HGO's Don Giovanni

★★★★

(Hampstead Garden Opera, Upstairs at the Gatehouse, 6 November 2015)

This is well overdue and I hope Hampstead Garden Opera will forgive me, but they can rest assured that my further tentative shuffle out of the Baroque was very enjoyable. Six months after their simple and smart Xerxes, they’ve taken on another heavyweight of the operatic canon and given him their own ineffable twist: none less than the Don himself.

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Xerxes: George Frideric Handel (1738)

Handel: Xerxes

★★★½

(Hampstead Garden Opera at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, 30 April 2015)

Those who follow me on Twitter will be aware of my Xerxes Project. As I’ve booked to see three live productions of Handel’s Xerxes this year, each of which promises to have its own very distinct flavour, I thought I’d make a theme of it. (I’m also doing some broader historical reading on Achaemenid Persia, so I’ve been examining our favourite brat-prince from several different perspectives.) I kicked things off in style this last weekend by taking in two productions, in two countries, in two languages, in three days. Things got underway in Highgate on Thursday, where Hampstead Garden Opera was holding court at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, one of London’s leading pub-theatres.

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