What: Wolfgang Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni
Where: Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
7th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh
When: Saturday, November 3, 8:00 PM Tuesday, November 6, 7:00 PM
Friday, November 9, 8:00 PM Sunday, November 11, 2:00 PM
Run Time: 3 hours, 10 minutes, including 1 intermission
Language: Sung in Italian with English titles projected above the stage
Tickets: Start at $10 for all performances.
Call 412-456-6666 for more information or visit pittsburghopera.org
Pittsburgh, PA…Pittsburgh Opera presents the Mozart favorite Don Giovanni, November 3 – 11 at the Benedum Center. Based on the Don Juan legend and starring Michael Todd Simpson as Don Giovanni, the opera showcases a sterling ensemble cast and a new production built in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Opera presents at least one new production every season, but it is unusual that the company presents three new productions in a single season. Its Don Giovanni is the first built-in-Pittsburgh production for the 2012-13 season. At press time, the distinctive “bullring” set is near completion in Ambridge, PA, and costumes and wigs are being fitted at the company’s Strip District headquarters.
The ensemble cast features debuts by Wayne Tigges as Leporello and Caitlin Lynch as Donna Anna, and returns for former Resident Artists Sean Panikkar (The Pearl Fishers, 2011) and Jennifer Holloway (Romeo & Juliet, 2006). Also returning are Michael Todd Simpson (The Marriage of Figaro, 2010; La bohème, 2009), Sari Gruber (The Marriage of Figaro, 2010; Cosi fan tutte, 2006) and Hao Jiang Tian (Turandot, 2011); Resident Artist Joseph Barron appears as Masetto. Music Director Antony Walker returns to conduct; Justin Way debuts as stage director. Mr. Way gives an overview of his vision for the opera in a video found at www.pittsburghopera.org.
Tickets to Don Giovanni start at $10, with all performances at the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, 7th Street and Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh. For additional information or to purchase tickets call 412-456-6666 or visitwww.pittsburghopera.org.
Facts about the opera
The Don Giovanni libretto was written by Lorenzo da Ponte, who shared some characteristics with the title character: he was friends with Casanova, and trained for the priesthood before falling out with the establishment for his libertine leanings. He had affairs with married women, and declared bankruptcy. However, his legacy of 28 librettos and his passion for teaching came with him to the U.S. when he became the first professor of Italian Literature at Columbia College (now Columbia University).
In rehearsals for the premiere, Mozart was dissatisfied with the scream given by his Zerlina when the Don makes advances to her. Mozart sneaked up behind her and gave her a hard pinch at the right moment. Zerlina gave a very realistic shriek, and Mozart said he was finally satisfied.
The story, in brief
Don Giovanni, a dissolute nobleman of Seville, kills the Commendatore in a duel after he tries to seduce the Commendatore’s daughter, Donna Anna. Giovanni escapes, and Anna makes her fiancé, Don Ottavio, swear vengeance on the killer. Outside a tavern, Giovanni flirts with Donna Elvira, whom he once seduced and who has been looking for him ever since. Giovanni’s servant Leporello distracts Elvira by reciting his master's long catalog of conquests. Peasants arrive, celebrating the wedding of Zerlina and Masetto; Giovanni joins in and applies his charm to the bride, but Elvira whisks the girl away. When Elvira returns to denounce Giovanni as a seducer, he is caught between her and Anna, now in mourning. Anna recognizes him as her attacker.
Preparing for the wedding feast he has planned for the peasants, Giovanni exuberantly downs champagne. Outside the palace, Zerlina begs Masetto to forgive her apparent infidelity. Giovanni manages to corner Zerlina again, and when the girl cries for help, Giovanni blames Leporello. No one is convinced, and Elvira, Anna and Ottavio confront the Don, who barely escapes Ottavio's challenge.
Later, at Elvira’s inn, Leporello exchanges clothes with Giovanni to woo the lady in his master's stead. Leporello leads Elvira off, leaving Giovanni free to serenade Elvira's maid. When Masetto comes by with a band of peasants bent on punishing the Don, the disguised rake gives them false directions and beats up Masetto. In a courtyard, Elvira and Leporello are surprised by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and Masetto, who, mistaking servant for master, threaten Leporello. Frightened, he unmasks and escapes.
Leporello catches up with his master in a cemetery, where a voice from the Commendatore’s statue warns Giovanni of his doom. The Don proposes that Leporello invite the statue to dinner. When the servant stammers an invitation, the statue accepts. Leporello is serving Giovanni's dinner when Elvira rushes in, begging the Don, whom she still loves, to reform. But he waves her out, and her screams announce the arrival of the statue. Giovanni boldly refuses warnings to repent, Hell opens before him, and he is drawn in. Arriving too late, the others plan their future and recite the moral: such is the fate of a wrongdoer.
Don Giovanni opens Saturday, November 3 and continues November 6, 9, and 11, 2012. Tickets start at $10. Call 412-456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org .
The Pittsburgh Opera 2012-2013 season is generously sponsored by PNC Foundation.
Tickets and Group Discounts
Tickets for all performances of Don Giovanni start at $10. Group discounts are available. For tickets, call (412) 456-6666 or visit www.pittsburghopera.org. For discounted group tickets (6 or more), contact Randy Adams at 412-281-0912, x 213.