Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Don Giovanni - Seattle Opera

Seattle Opera at McCaw Hall
January 13 - 27, 2007
Tickets Online
or by Phone at: Local: (206) 389-7676 or Toll-Free (out of area only): (800) 426-1619

The classic story of Don Juan, the sexcapading prankster of lore, comes to life in a myriad of manners in Seattle Opera's Don Giovanni. Mozart's operatic creation brings four complete opposing love stories together to challenge and devour each other in a lustful and ongoing battle. Don Giovanni, Mozart's Don Juan, continues his molestation of the women of the world while his servant, Leporello, keeps tracks of the thousand plus women with whom Don Giovanni has made love. After a thrilling turn of events, Don Giovanni is chased by a forlorn past lover, Donna Elvira, still in love with her runaway bridegroom. Add into the equation Donna Anna, the broken-hearted daughter of one of Don Giovanni's slain victims, and her one-track-minded fiance, Don Ottavio, the story gets wild. It's not done there, though. After crashing a wedding, Don Giovanni and Leporello now have Masetto, the jealous husband of Don Giovanni's new attraction, Zerlina, and Zerlina after Don Giovanni's head. How can it all end? Only the powers that be can, and will, tell.

As has been proven to be expected in the past, the set for Don Giovanni is absolutely outstanding. Robert A. Dahlstrom's construction keeps the foreboding darkness of the Don's sexual reign overshadowing the stage throughout the performance. With glimmers of light, whether for show or for poignancy, the set brings the characters and the arena in which they are held to life. Marie-Therese Cramer's costume design augments the gorgeous set remarkably well. The way the colors all blend and burst illuminates each and every character in a fully caricaturized and yet realistic manner.

Chris Alexander's direction of the cast brings the third point to the trifecta of creators mentioned here who collaborated on this production. The subtleties of certain lines and the overbearing sexual visuals given to the audience repeatedly and blatantly balance the show in an unexpected way. With such a strong sexual theme in the plot and libretto, one need not necessarily put it on stage. However, Alexander does not hold back for prudence's sake . He allows the audience to see the terror that Don Giovanni inflicts upon his lust's targets, adding an increased sense of urgency and violence to the mood of the play, much to the delight of the audience.

With talent on stage to be celebrated with "Brava's!" and ovations lifted, every element of this production comes together. Although, at times, a duet may loose its fire or an aria may fall momentarily emotionally flat, the vibrancy and life of these characters is a marvelous spectacle.

Review by: Nigel Andrews

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