The buffed and barely clad Kiwi baritone, Teddy Tahu Rhodes makes a perfect Don Giovanni. Mozart’s infamous seducer is brought to life in Opera Australia’s revival of this 18th century classic as Rhodes struts across the stage with his shirt undone, flashing his pecs and abs for all to see. Don Juan (or Don Giovanni in Italian) is one of fiction’s greatest antiheroes and was born in an age of enlightenment and personal freedom. Mozart wrote his libertine opera in 1788, a year after the American constitution was penned and a year before the French revolution broke out. Here in Sydney of course, 1788 was the year that the first fleet arrived in Botany Bay. Carl Fredrich Oberle’s palatial set serves as a spectacular backdrop to Mozart’s brilliant music which goes from playful to seductive to foreboding. Rhodes’ muscular and masculine voice fills up the Sydney Opera House as he performs what has become his most famous role. As he sings the famous “Champagne” aria, he tosses off his clothes as if he were a Chippendale performer. Don Giovanni’s loyal servant Leporello is performed by fellow Kiwi Conal Coad, whose singing of the famous comedic “Catalogue” aria is spectacular. The Australian born Soprano Rachelle Durkin stands out as Donna Anna, the love torn Lady of Burgos. Bass Baritone Daniel Sumegi’s voice raises the rafters as the Commodore, who offers Don Giovanni the chance to repent his sins as the set collapses ominously and the swaggering renegade is dragged to an eternity in hell.
Until Nov 5, Sydney Opera House, $55-297, 9318 8200, opera-australia.org.au