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United Kingdom: London. (INTERNATIONAL).

The world premiere at the English National Opera of David Sawer's From Morning to Midnight, based on a play by the German expressionist Georg Kaiser, scored a great hit. Directed by Richard Jones and designed by Stewart Laing, the opera relates the last day in the life of a bank cashier, who steals a large sum of money from the bank and, after various adventures, shoots himself. Tenor John Daszak was excellent as the Cashier, while Kathryn Harries, as an Italian lady who wants to borrow money, and Gail Pearson, as a Salvation Army girl, were also notable. Everyone else sang several roles. Martyn Brabbins conducted Sawer's attractive, if derivative, score with great panache.

A new production of Don Giovanni, staged by Catalan director Calixto Bieito set Mozart's opera in the present day. Giovanni and Leporello snorted coke, Elvira was a chocaholic, Anna and Ottavio achieved an orgasm while she was singing (extremely well) "Non mi dir." Earlier, Giovanni and Anna had been making love in the back of a car, driven by Leporello. Later the body of the Commendatore fell out of the trunk of the car. At the end, Giovanni was knifed by each of the each of the characters in turn-there was nothing supernatural about this production.

Whatever one thought of the staging, the singing was amazingly good, given that the characters were never still for a second. Garry Magee was a splendid Giovanni; Canadian baritone Nathan Berg an even better Leporello; Claire Rutter's Anna and Claire Weston's Elvira both sang with great warmth and skill; while Paul Nilon made a positive character out of the usual faceless Ottavio and sang extremely well too. Although the conductor, Joseph Swenson, paced the music rather too fast for the singers' comfort, the cheers outweighed the boos at the end by a considerable margin.
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Title Annotation:Review; From Morning to Midnight
Author:Forbes, Elizabeth
Publication:Opera Canada
Article Type:Opera Review
Date:Sep 22, 2001
Previous Article:Germany: Gottingen. (INTERNATIONAL).
Next Article:Peter Grimes: Ben Heppner in the title role of the Opera de Paris production. (PARIS).

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