Tag Archives: Don Giovanni

Don G. in D.C.? Well, in a manner of speaking …

DG_Poster_finalNew York Opera Exchange is presenting my favorite Mozart opera–his classic tale of power, seduction, and desire (DON GIOVANNI) seen through the lens of Washington D.C. in the summer of 1963.

Sounds like an entertaining creative premise, doesn’t it?

In their new production, the infamous libertine runs free, abusing his status and wealth to seduce and indulge in an array of sexy vices until past demons return to seek justice.

The production has been directed by Jennifer Shorstein and features the New York Opera Exchange Orchestra conducted by David Leibowitz.

Remaining performances are:
Friday, May 3rd at 7:30pm
Saturday, May 4th at 7:30pm
Sunday, May 5th at 3:00pm

The production will be presented at the Church of the Covenant, 310 E. 42nd St. New York, NY.

Tickets are $30 each ($10 student rush) and are available at the door or in advance at www.nyoperaexchange.com.

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opera is the new black

Opera glasses are the new cool-to-look-nerdy glasses.

Trouser roles are the new ties for women.

Arabella is the new Adele.

Opera fudge is the new cupcake.

Agrippina is the new Tiger Mother.

Anna Bolena is the new Anne Hathaway.

Sextets are the new sexting.

Manon Lescaut is the new Pop-Tart.

Headdresses are the new giant sculpted bow hats.

Scarpia is the new Voldemort.

Così fan tutte is the new “The Good Wife.”

Il barbiere di Siviglia is the new “Downton Abbey.”

James Valenti is the new James Franco.

Alberich is the new Smeagol.

Don Giovanni is the new Charlie Sheen.

* * *

 What might you add to this list, Operatoonity readers?


Filed under 21st Century Opera, Classic Opera

‘1003 in Spain alone. Boy, and I thought I had a misspent youth!’

Don G. poster designed by Jose Llopis

(As part of the run-up to Mozart’s birthday tomorrow, I am delighted to share with you some reflections on Don Giovanni in today’s guest post from the esteemed Stephen Llewellyn, aka Operaman entitled “1003 in Spain alone. Boy, and I thought I had a misspent youth.”)

by Stephen Llewellyn

Don Giovanni is one of a small handful of operas that on any given day I am prepared to pronounce my favourite opera. Note that I am not suggesting that it is the greatest opera ever written. Not even that it is Mozart’s greatest opera (most people would, I think, accord that honour to Le Nozze di Figaro.) But it is a work I never cease to love and marvel at.

Why? Well, prima la musica (‘first the music and then the words’), of course. Whether it be the humour of ‘Madamina, il catalògo e questo’ (the pre-cursor to Arthur Sullivan’s patter songs perhaps), the sheer beauty of ‘Deh vieni alla finestra’ or that “exquisite waste of time” ‘Il mio tesoro,’ Mozart’s pen spewed tunes that still leave us trembling, smiling, and whistling.

(Here’s a charming clip of Simon Keenlyside singing ‘Deh vieni alla finestra.’)

YouTube Preview Image

But that glorious music alone wouldn’t do it without Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto masterpiece which, when taken with the music, lays before us what seems like the whole of the human condition.  I can think of no writer, except Shakespeare, who manages to present the landscape of humankind before us, warts and all, without bitterness or judgement.

I suppose if you are an opera composer looking for a worldly-wise wordsmith who can get to grips with love, lust, chicanery, comedy, tragedy, life and death, you would be hard put to do better than Da Ponte. Born a Jew, converted to Roman Catholicism, took holy orders, seduced another man’s wife (with whom he had children), managed a whore house with her, ultimately fleeing to America where he became a grocer in Brooklyn before taking a post as the first professor of Italian literature at Columbia University. Yes, there was a man who knew life!

Don Giovanni's demise | c. New York City Opera

I could rattle on for pages on how each scene of the opera holds its own unique treasures but as space does not permit, let me jump to the ending.  What an ending! The Don is given the opportunity to admit the error or his ways and receive God’s – and our – absolution.  He’ll have none of it, preferring to remain true to himself and be damned.

Excuse me but I need to get online and see whether any company within a hundred miles of where I am sitting has plans to give us Don Giovanni any time soon. I am so there.

* * *

About the Author: Stephen Llewellyn is a former barrister, an Internet luminary, an #Operaplot champion, an opera devotee, bon vivant, and a blogger of record for the Portland Opera Company. You can read more about him in this scintillating Operatoonity Q&A.


Editor’s Note: If you, like Operaman, have Don G. fever, you can visit Bachtrack.com at this link for the production playing (or soon to run) nearest you. Since Stephen is across the pond, he can also consult One Stop Arts to see what operas are playing in London these days. You’re in luck, Stephen. Don G. is at the ROH until Feb. 29.

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Filed under Classic Opera, Don Giovanni, Guest post, Mozart

il catalogo – visitors to Operatoonity.com

Visitors to Operatoonity.com since August 18

Madamina, signore e signori,
Since I moved to Operatoonity.com last month,
The blog is now translate-able into seven languages,
So, a list of visitors I have compiled since the switch.
Observe, read along with me.

From Italy, seven and twenty;
In Germany, thirty-seven;
Forty-one in France; in Turkey, six;
But in the United States already one thousand, one hundred and forty-two.

And from 82 other countries, eight hundred and seventy-eight!

In winter I like fat visitors from Great Britain.
In summer I like thin visitors from Canada.
I call the tall ones from The Netherlands majestic.
The little ones from South America always charm me.

Be you French, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Saudi Arabian, Japanese, English, Canadian, or Indonesian, fat, thin, or an in-between size, I’m so glad you stopped by.

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Filed under Don Giovanni, NTweetOP, Opera Marketing, opera milestones, opera parody

What’s your favorite soprano role in opera?

In celebration of Soprano Month on “Operatoonity,”  I created a poll to find out your favorite soprano roles. To see. To sing. Makes no difference in this poll.

Here’s a short list–hardly exhaustive–so if you’re not seeing your favorite, feel free to add in the comments.

It is interesting though that some of the world’s favorite operas and/or most performed operas don’t have soprano roles on this list, Don Giovanni being one of them. In fact, the Queen of the Night is one of the few Mozart sopranos role listed here, the other being Susanna from Le Nozze di Figaro. My oversight? Or do certain composers–Puccini, for instance–create more memorable roles for the soprano voice? What do you think?

Hearty thanks to Twitter Opera folk @operarules, @operabetty, @mitchthetenor, @amzenon, @SpeeStuck, @ChiyoX, and @ReeseSondheim for their suggestions. and also to OperaAmerica website, which helped me constitute the following list:


Filed under Audience participation, Classic Opera, Poll, sopranos