From the start, New Zealand Opera's Don Giovanni presented the mix of tragedy and comedy stipulated in the opera's description as "dramma giocoso" (playful drama).
Wyn Davies immediately captured its emotional ambivalence in a sharply paced overture from a spruce Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
Sara Brodie's concept for this production, setting it in 21st century Spain, garnered some bad press after its 2013 Christchurch launch.
Yet this tale of vengeance and vindication among a callous contemporary party set, with nightclub bouncers and relatively demure pole dancers, made sense.
Only in the ball scene did rapper gestures and slo-mo swaying jar with a formal Mozart minuet.
Brodie has created vivid characters, moving between the worlds of Libertinos bustling nightclub and the Hotel Ottavio, the two faces of John Verryt's brilliant revolving set.
Much of the edgy relationship between Mark Stone's Giovanni and Warwick Fyfe's Leporello emerged in beautifully turned recitatives, floating over David Kelly's finely nuanced continuo. Both singers brought the tyrannical cellphone into their arias, ingeniously so when Fyfe revealed his master's past amatory conquests.
The key role of Zerlina, played by Amelia Berry, was a worldly woman rather than the usual peasant girl.
Berry, playing opposite Robert Tucker's blustering Masetto, brought human issues to the fore, culminating in a glorious Vedrai, carino complete with a daring, spellbinding top C.
Anna Leese's Donna Elvira journeyed fearlessly from righteous fury to uninhibited physical comedy. With her Mi tradi aria restored (inexplicably cut in Christchurch) it was a pleasure to enjoy the subtle stylings of a singer who, like Stone, understands the true essence of Mozartian line.
Lisa Harper-Brown's Donna Anna, though visually striking, showed some vocal straining, while Jaewoon Kim's Don Ottavio did not quite manage the requisite tonal warmth.
Nobody likes spoilers, but Brodie's ending was unexpected and spectacular.