by W.A. Mozart


The Opéra de Montréal’s 37th season continues with the presentation of Don Giovanni by Mozart, the very essence of the mythical figure of Don Juan, and one of the greatest works in the history of opera. On deck in this dramma giocoso (joyful drama) that blends together drama and comedy: youthful singers and a fresh set design that sets the story in the 1940/50s. For his Opéra de Montréal debut, David Lefkowich brings us a surprising staging, following his first encounter with Don Giovanni, which he directed at the Ravinia Music Festival with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Canada’s finest emerging artists…

Bass-baritone Gordon Bintner sings the title role, an unrepentant seducer who has become the archetypal heartbreaker; soprano Emily Dorn, makes her Opéra de Montréal debut in the role of Donna Anna, noblewoman, daughter of the city’s Commandant, an all-powerful father, sung by bass Alain Coulombe. Alongside them: tenor Jean-Michel Richer (Don Ottavio), soprano Layla Claire (Donna Elvira, abandoned by the unfaithful Don Giovanni), bass-baritone Daniel Okulitch (Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant), as well as bass-baritone Stephen Hegedus and soprano Hélène Guilmette (the peasant couple Masetto and Zerlina). Named one of CBC’s Top 30 Classical Musicians Under 30, conductor Jordan de Souza makes his company debut leading the Orchestre Métropolitain and the Opéra de Montréal Chorus.

The story: “I love you…” “Nor do I.”

Great seducer Don Giovanni kills the city’s Commandant, after entering his home and attempting to abuse his daughter, Donna Anna. Accompanied by his servant—the comical Leporello—, Don Giovanni tries to escape the condemnation of the vindictive Elvira, who he has abandoned, and of the peasant Zerlina, who he has tried to seduce. During a party in Don Giovanni’s palace, Donna Anna recognizes him as the man who murdered her father, and asks Ottavio to seek vengeance. Three masked figures enter—none other than Elvira, Anna, and Ottavio, who have come to foil their enemy and his servant. In a gripping dénouement, Don Giovanni ends up paying for his depraved behaviour!

“Leave the women alone ? You’re mad! Leave the women alone! You know that they are more necessary to me than the bread I eat! Than the air I breathe!”    (Act 2, Scene 1)

The epitome of the Don Juan myth
The success of The Marriage of Figaro at the National Theatre in Prague during the winter of 1786-1787 earned Mozart the commission for a new opera to be staged the following autumn. The opera was to be based on one of the great mythical figures in Western literature and theatre—Don Juan—, who, along with Faust, stirred the collective imagination at a time when people could look forward to more individual freedom. Don Giovanni became “the opera of operas,” confirming the creative insight of its lyrical genius and the great tragi-comic power of Da Ponte’s libretto (dramma giocoso – literally: joyful drama), surrounded by an omnipresent aura of eroticism. The sensual beauty of the composition reveals the seductive, quasi-physical power of music that is both bright and dark.

The music of a genius
It is the extreme eloquence of the music serving both the plot and emotions that is most striking. Never before had audiences experienced such an intimate relationship between the words and the music. Moreover, the richness of this “joyful drama” comes from the superposition and confrontation of two types of action—dramatic and comic—that correspond to different types of music. The highly expressive music illustrates one and the other with great conviction. Added to this are arias and ensembles of remarkable beauty and virtuosity that are among the highlights of the opera, along with the musical overture that heralds the drama to follow.

Language: Italian with English and French supertitles
Libretto: Lorenzo da Ponte
Last presented at the Opéra de Montréal: May 2007

For information and tickets:  514-842-2112 or 1-866-842-2112