Voices rise as ‘Don’ gets the treatment

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Big is the word when it comes to OzOpera’s coming production of ‘Don Giovanni’, says arts editor HELEN MUSA

“DON Giovanni” is a big story, ranging from comedy to the depths of hell. And for a big story, you need big people with big voices.

Enter Eddie Muliaumaseali’i and Adrian Tamburini, the two basses of the show, whose thunderous voices nearly bring the roof down as they speak to me – “an occupational hazard,” Tamburini quips.

“I’m known as the big guy with the big voice,” says former rugby player and first generation New Zealander Muliaumaseali’i. You can say that again. It’s a very, very tall cast, too. He’s just 188cm tall, but others in the cast rise to 198 cm.

“Tall and, dare I say, sexy,” Tamburini says, adding, for my information, “we mimic tenors and their little speaking voices.”

Muliaumaseali’i will be on stage for much of the evening and doubling as the scary Commendatore, the dinner guest from hell, and the innocent young lover Masetto.

Adrian Tamburini in rehearsals for “Don Giovanni”… “We mimic tenors and their little speaking voices.”
He particularly enjoys the frankness of non-city audience members, who “will tell you what they really think”. The cast also take workshops with individuals, community choirs and schools and they’ve found trained singers attending workshops, who normally have to fly thousands of kilometres for their lessons. The less knowledgeable participants often “get a shock when they hear a soprano sing a few metres away from them.”

Muliaumaseali’i tells me that wherever their “lovely bus” pulls in, the word goes out and people flock to them.

Tamburini only plays one role in the opera, the man-servant Leporello, who has “enough nous to get Don Giovanni in and out of sticky situations”. Given the number of women the Don seduces, (“1003 in Spain alone”) there are plenty of those.

Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Canberra Theatre, July 12-14, bookings to 6275 2700 or www.canberratheatre.com.au

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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