GUITAR FESTIVAL – Lord Byron’s Don Juan – Tama Matheson and Karin Schaupp – 4.5K

By Peter Maddern

There is something quintessentially British about George Gordon Byron; living in a society that while prescribing morality and propriety is dominated by those whose behaviour is more notable for the breach than the observance of that civil code. Indeed it is unclear just exactly what principles guided the young Byron other than some devotion to his own ego and varied sexual pleasure.

Tama Matheson superbly takes us through this life posed as he is in his final days, aged 36, before sepsis arising from treatment for fever takes its ultimate hold. In it Matheson also speaks to the genesis and development of Byron’s masterpiece, the unfinished Don Juan.  These prove to be threads that are deeply interwoven; autobiographical and delusional, grand and petty.

Adding to the intrigue, the hubris and the humour is Karin Schaupp working away on solo guitar with music from Turina, Pujol and Tàrrega before herself too getting caught up in the tale.

Matheson’s Lord Byron’s Don Juan is a gem, a quinella of consummate writing and delivery, a gripping tale of a free (albeit self-obsessed) spirit accompanied by rhythms of love, passion and struggle. One can only hope for a repeat season – one night is surely not enough.

Kryztoff Rating    4.5K

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