Mozart listed Don Giovanni as a comic opera, however, the story is ultimately a dark one, examining the complexity of human nature; the contradictions between desire, love and morality; focusing on how Don Giovanni causes pain and destruction to those around him, through his all-consuming sexual pursuit of women, which in turn eventually brings about his own demise.
In previous productions of Don Giovanni, the interactions with the protagonist and his conquests have often been consensual, and ultimately admired by the audience, whereas in this instance, the all-female production team have ensured that Don Giovanni is seen completely as a malicious predator bent on preying upon and destroying the lives of the vulnerable young women he pursues. The timing of this opera at the Pleasance Theatre is uncanny – in the light of current news events – what with more-and-more women revealing how they have been sexually abused by men in positions of power.
‘Long live women, long live wine! The substance and glory of all humanity!‘
Don Giovanni lives entirely for sensual pleasure alone, and women, seduced by his charms, are equally enticed by his fiery passion towards them. He has a deep need for women to fall for him, but when they do, he eyes soon set upon his next conquest. This production is very much driven by the viewpoint of the all-female production team, and in a sense, it’s refreshing to see from this perspective.
This production is performed in Italian with English surtitles and a small orchestral ensemble headed by an animated conductor, who is as much a part of the ongoings as the singers. Don Giovanni is produced by HeadFirst, and is the central show for the Festival of Sex, Love and Death, bringing opera to the Pleasance Theatre for the first time. The festival showcases opera, dance, physical theatre and new writing with eight companies staging five events over ten days.
- Pleasance Theatre, 26th Oct 2017 – 4th Nov 2017
- Company: HeadFirst Productions
- Writer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
- Director/Producer – Sophie Gilpin
- Conductor – Sonia Ben Santamaria
- Production Designer – Anna Bonomel
- Lighting Designer – Marco Alba
- Language Coach – Fiona Murray
- Assistant Director – Louise Bakker
- Running time: 2hrs 10mins, inc. 15 min interval
Dark & Funny