Opera Colorado Defies Far Away Worlds for a 1950s Spin on Don Giovanni
by Melissa Wimbish
Ray Mark Rinaldi of The Denver Post gives us the lowdown on one of opera’s most lowdown lads in this review of Opera Colorado’s latest offering. Director Kevin Newbury defies far away worlds for a 1950s spin on Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Check out the Operagasm review rundown!
Far away worlds are kind of out of our budget this year, but the Don is still going to have a great time: ”Opera takes its audiences to other worlds, and they are usually long ago or far away: the courts of medieval kings, imperial Japan, Hades … So it’s jarring to see an opera like Don Giovanni, originally set in the 17th-century Spanish countryside, updated to such a recent environment, as it is with the production now on stage from Opera Colorado. But it’s also a lot of fun.”
Gotta watch out, gotta get a roughneck: ”Christopher Magiera, who sings the lead role, makes the most of it. He lets his Don get a little rough, but keeps him real. If the setting is less exotic, more cinematic, the character has to be more relatable. Magiera knows when to tone it down, in the way a stage actor adjusts his character for the screen. There are times the guy almost seems vulnerable.”
You say potato, I say asparagus: “But there’s no reason not to play around with Don Giovanni. The opera always ranks in the annual top 10 of works produced internationally. Audiences know the plot so well it doesn’t have to be explained. They can fill in the psychic gaps of time and social manner. It’s like one of those familiar jazz standards: Listeners are looking for nuance.”
It’s too bad we call it a ‘pit’ despite all the exquisite things that happen in there: “…conducted with unrelenting energy by Ari Pelto … This is a long session of opera, a marathon for those in the pit and in the seats. But Mozart’s music, well-played, always saves the day.”
Go see it for yourself!: Opera Colorado presents Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s work, Don Giovanni, with a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte, at 7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 p.m. Sunday. Ellie Caulkins Opera House, 14th and Curtis streets in the Denver Performing Arts Complex. $20-$165. 303-468-2030 or operacolorado.org.