Don Giovanni: Sex and Sword Fights Done Right
|Don Giovanni sings and screws.|
The opera follows Don Giovanni (David Pittsinger), a remorseless womanizer, as he pursues conquest after conquest, sometimes going as far as to wear a mask or impersonate other people if it helps. He's unfazed by the boat loads of people he hurts along the way. In one scene, he announces nonchalantly that chasing women is more vital than consuming air or food.
Don Giovanni gets a bit reckless, however, when he climbs into Il Commendatore's daughter's window. The rather, uh, direct pass is not received well, and Il Commendatore and Giovanni fight in a nasty duel that leaves the former dead. The rest of the story is essentially about Donna Anna, the Commendatore's daughter, seeking to avenge her father's death. As Don Giovanni continues to add to his impressive tally of one night stands, Donna Anna acquires more and more sympathizers eager to see the Don go down.
|Florida Grand Opera|
|Jonathan Michie and Brittany Robinson.|
Georgia Jarman is outstanding in her portrayal of the pathetically obsessed jilted ex-lover, Donna Elvira. I think it's an added modernization that Jarman carries a baby doll as she sings about how ashamed she is about Don Giovanni loving and leaving her, insinuating that DG is the father, but I could be wrong. It seems a little Maury Povich for the 18th century, but hell, Mozart was ahead of his time!
My favorite was Jonathan G. Michie, who plays Masetto, the jealous husband of Zerlina (Brittany Ann Renee Robinson), one of Don Giovanni's conquests. Grabbing his bride desperately by the wrist, begging frantically for her not to allow herself to be alone with "the Don" (I know these things are all part of the script, but the way Michie conveys them was so genuine) the reality of his performance cut through the fact that he was singing the entire time and that the words were in Italian. Now that's a tall order.
Other notable performances: Jacquelyn Wagner, who plays Donna Anna, whose songbird voice is crystal clear and powerful, and Morris Robinson, Il Commendatore, with a rich booming voice and a physique that is just as immense! (Spoiler alert! But c'mon, the story is hundreds of years old...) When he comes back from the dead to try to force Don Giovanni to repent, his form alone is freaking frightening, never mind the eerie face paint, dark robes and dry ice smoke!
A beautiful story with equal parts drama, humor, and moral 'suasion, all portrayed by exquisite performers both on stage and in the orchestra pit, Don Giovanni is worth attending if you can swing it.
Performances at the Ziff Ballet and Opera House, 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, are on select days from April 22nd through May 14th. Go to the Florida Grand Opera website or call 800-741-1010.
Follow Cultist on Facebook and Twitter @CultistMiami.