Entertainment Views Interviews: Star of Don Giovanni, Gavan Ring

Mozart’s Don Giovanni is currently touring the UK and playing the title role is Gavan Ring. Entertainment Views chatted to Gavan about the production…

Tell me about Don Giovanni

Don Giovanni has been often been described as Mozart's 'blackest' opera and it's easy to see why; the story 
centres around this immensely powerful and wealthy man, Don Giovanni, and his last day on earth. He has 
abused his privileged position throughout his life (most notably with women) and the ghost of the father of a 
woman he has raped comes back to earth to drag him to hell at the finale! It's heavy stuff!

What are the challenges of the role?

One word: stamina. The sheer size of the role and the intensity of performing it is hugely taxing - it's not that it's 
tremendously difficult to sing from a technical/vocal point of view, it's the sheer volume of material that you 
have to get through. Don Giovanni is a character who goes at 100 miles an hour from the off and he is always on stage so there is very little, if any, room at all for autopilot or cruise control - you have to be 'on it' at all times!

What do you feel the strengths of this opera are?

For me, this is one of the earliest and best examples of total symbiosis of music and drama - the music in Don 
Giovanni intelligences the drama in a way that, for me, was only ever achieved again with Verdi or Puccini. It's 
total opera!

Why do you feel that Mozart as a composer has stood the test of time?

I have always maintained that Mozart is the musical or operatic equivalent of Shakespeare - every line is driven 
with dramatic intention so the result is that his works are always alive and awaiting an audience response. 
Mozart rarely, if ever, wrote anything for the sake of it, especially his operas, so the quality of drama coupled 
with the most fantastic music is the perfect mix for something that will last and thrive throughout the ages.

Have you any favourite composers?

Mozart is my favourite - his music is life-affirming in my opinion. I love nothing better than kicking back with a 
fine ale or good single malt and listening to one of his piano concertos, string quartets or operas.

What led you into a performing career?

A number of things really but the principal driver behind my desire to become an opera singer was that it was 
something I enjoyed and found myself to be reasonably good at. I am very much a believer in the idea that, if life gives you the chance, you should pursue a career you enjoy because you're going to be working for a fair bit of 
time so you might as well do something which you don't mind getting up for in the morning!

What can the audience expect from this production?

Don Giovanni is a character who we all know in some shape or form, even if we haven't seen the opera or read 
the original story of Don Juan. We see his like everywhere and the awareness of the existence of such characters has probably never been more acute given the #metoo and #timesup movements lately. I think audiences can 
expect to come viscerally face-to-face with Don Giovanni; audiences can immerse themselves in the currency of 
this incredible drama, which, of course is brought to life vis-a-vis some of the greatest music ever written. 

Why should they come and see it?

I think this production of Don Giovanni has been excellently put together; we have an international cast of 
incredibly gifted artists, an orchestra to die for, a sumptuous production which is drop-dead gorgeous to look at 
plus an overall musical and dramatic interpretation of Don Giovanni which is sure to keeps one's pulse racing
from start to finish!

Book your tickets to see it for yourself: Don Giovanni

Photo Credits: WNO

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