Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School will continue their exploration of Mozart’s mature operas with a theatrically daring take on his thrilling ‘Don Juan’ adaptation in August. Opera’s bad boy and legendary lover will titillate audiences in ‘Don Giovanni’ at The Baxter Theatre from August 20 to 24. Legendary lover, sadistic manipulator and cold-blooded villain – has there ever been a more irrepressible rogue than Don Giovanni? With 2065 names in his little black book, Don Giovanni can lay fair claim to the title of the world’s greatest seducer. But one night in Seville, literature’s most famous sex addict goes too far – and must face supernatural retribution for his crimes.
‘Don Giovanni’ has inspired obsessive admiration ever since it was created – along with ‘Hamlet’ and the sea, Flaubert believed it was one of “the three finest things God ever made” – and the greatest singers of every generation long to put their stamp on its memorable characters.
Yet Mozart had a young cast in mind when he penned the opera – the first Giovanni was 21, and the first Donna Anna 24 – and ‘Don Giovanni’ springs off the page with a visceral authenticity when performed by energetic twenty-somethings, making it a perfect fit for the young and vibrant UCT Opera School students and
Cape Town Opera Studio members.
• Don Giovanni (baritone), a sexually promiscuous young aristocrat
• Leporello (bass), his servant
• Commendatore (bass),an old nobleman (Donna Anna’s father)
• Donna Anna (soprano), the Commendatore’s daughter and Don Ottavio’s fiancée
• Don Ottavio (tenor), Donna Anna’s fiancé
• Donna Elvira (soprano), a woman seduced and abandoned by Don Giovanni
• Zerlina (soprano), a peasant and Masetto’s fiancée
• Masetto (bass), a peasant and Zerlina’s fiancé
Don Giovanni, a notorious womanizer, fails to seduce Donna Anna, then kills her father, the Commendatore, when he comes to her aid. Anna and her fiancé, Don Ottavio vow to avenge the old man’s death.
Don Giovanni is pursued by Donna Elvira, a woman he has seduced and abandoned. He eludes her at a party in his palace. He fails to seduce the
peasant girl, Zerlina. His enemies try to apprehend him, but he escapes.
As Don Giovanni passes through a cemetery, the statue of the dead Commendatore comes to life and invites the seducer to supper in hell. The Don is shaken, but amused, and accepts the invitation.
The statue drags Don Giovanni to hell as flames rise and the cries of demons are heard. Giovanni’s enemies gather. When they realize the powers of hell have done away with the seducer, they make plans for a happier future.
Matthew Wild and Kamal Khan return as director and conductor to create a new production of the opera, following their darkly illuminating ‘Così fan tutte’ in 2012. “The Don propels himself through his last night on earth with manic abandon, compelling love, hate, lust and obsession from all who orbit around him,” says Wild. “No other opera explores sexual and romantic compulsion so arrestingly – themes we will foreground in a show that is young, raw and startling.”
The opera will be sung in Italian with English subtitles projected above the stage.
* Bookings are open at Computicket.
The show is not suitable for children under the age of 16, because of partial nudity and violence.