Why do so many modern directors of opera insist on so putting their mark on the piece that it becomes almost unrecognisable from what the composer and librettist originally intended. Although Jonathan Kent's aberrations are relatively mild compared with some of the ghastly productions of this masterpiece we have seen in recent years, the fact is that the production, especially the second half, manages to almost detract completely from what Mozart and da Ponte intended. It gets us thinking less about the drama as to when one of the principals was going to fall off the tilted stage. Why did the producer think the singers could act and sing better when they are trying desperately to keep her balance for most of the time?
The updating did little to help the drama and was mostly destructive towards the original concept which depends on the liberties nobleman and were able to take with young ladies in the time it was set. Added to which the sets, though ingenious, bound up the production in their drabness and general unsightliness. Hopeless!
As to the singing, Finley sings well he is miscast as the Don, at least in this production. He never suggests the sexual allure needed for this part. I was willing him to change places with his Leporello, who looked as though he could play the Don in spades. Of the women, the Donna Anna just doesn't look or sound right and Kate Royal is miscast as Elvira - she just hasn't the voice for it, gamely though she tried.
All in all the production may be summed up by the ending where a zombie comes to life and somehow manages to make the Don bleed to death. Funny, but I thought the two geniuses who actually wrote the piece specified something different. But then, what are the creators' intentions to a modern producer. Horrible!