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Sydney Independent Opera: Mozart's Don Giovanni

Home > Sydney > Opera | Performing Arts | Theatre
by Mila Wood (subscribe)
I work in the Finance department of a media company, and someone who dabbles in writing of any genre.
Published November 3rd 2013
The greatest opera that was ever written and peformed

"Don Giovanni or the Punishment of the Libertine" was first performed in Prague on October 29, 1787 and since then has been claimed as one of the greatest operas that was ever written and performed on stage.

Sarah Connor, Production Photography

It centres on Don Giovanni, a fictional character derived from Don Juan, who in the opera world is a most brazen and charismatic womaniser. A lothario who preyed on women's vulnerability, irrespective of the fact of who they were and even if she is betrothed to another soul.

Randal Stewart as Don Giovanni is magnificent. He perfected the art of seduction. His voice was magic and delivered with perfection.

Sarah Connor, Production Photography

Donna Anna is played by Qestra Mulqueeny. Engaging, seductive and an amazing talent with numerous accolades.

Paul Smith as Leporello is utterly entertaining; he virtually commanded the whole show.

Sarah Connor, Production Photography

Beautiful Donna Elvira is played by Salina Bussien. Her love for Don Giovanni shows no bounds.

Maia Andrews as Zerlina is equally magnificent. Her voice descends from heaven.

The performance of the rest of the cast is commendable. Such strong operatic voices that reverberated the surroundings and at times made my skin crawl.

Sarah Connor, Production Photography

Act 1 and Act II sees Don Giovanni as he tries to seduce the Commendatore's (an old Nobleman) daughter, Donna Anna. As she falls for the guise of Don Giovanni, thinking it is her betrothed Don Ottavio, Donna Anna succumbs to his allure.

Upon discovering that she had been betrayed, she screams. Commendatore comes to her rescue; a fight ensues and Donna Anna is left to summon Don Ottavio. But upon her return, they discovered that the Commendatore has lost his life and they both vow to avenge his death.

The following morning Don Giovanni and Leporello are outside a tavern when they hear a voice of angel singing about her love who abandoned her.

He then moves closer to seduce her, but to his astonishment, he realises that it's his former conquest, Donna Elvira, who has been endlessly searching for him. He then callously sends his servant Leporello to tell her that she is just one of his hundreds of conquests. Donna Elvira then infuriatingly flees from the scene.

A while later, at the wedding party of peasants Zerlina and Masetto, Don Giovanni sets out and seduce Zerlina. But his evil intentions are quite obvious and Masetto tries to dissuade Giovanni, all the while Donna Elvira cuts in and informs Zerlina that Don Giovanni is a womaniser and can't be trusted.

At that moment, Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrives, with Donna Anna still mourning in the death of her father. Upon hearing Don Giovanni's rant, Donna Anna recognises his voice as the masked man who killed her father.

In act II Donna Elvira forgives Don Giovanni and begs him to change his ways and his lifestyle, but he refuses, claiming that wine and women are the essences of humankind.

Meanwhile Leporello meets Don Giovanni in the graveyard next to Commendatore's statue and tells Giovanni of the dangers he may encounter, but Don Giovanni just laughs and then all of a sudden, the statue begins to speak. He warns Don Giovanni that he won't be laughing any more after the morning's sunrise. Don Giovanni invites the statue to dinner, and to his surprise, the statue accepts his invitation.

But when the statue asks Don Giovanni to repent for his sins, he refuses. Then, with a great flash, the earth opens up beneath their feet and the statue pulls Don Giovanni with him to hell.

An entangled story of love, infidelity deceit, revenge and murder.
There is a moment when a question came to my mind during the modern take on this opera; why is there a reference / comparison to the shows Desperate Housewives and the Bold and the Beautiful? These references did seem to have slightly downgraded the iconic play. But I guess portraying the play in slightly comedic way is acceptable.

Although the production lacks grandeur and the pomposity expected of that era, the sheer talents are a joy to watch. The theatre is packed, and everyone appeared to have enjoyed the operatic scene.

Moving on

Quoting from the Catholic faith's Ten Commandments; "Thou shall not commit adultery"

A belief that disobedience will condemn your soul into hell in the afterlife.

Don Giovanni's soul is swallowed by evil, which is a similar scenario.

In the 1500, King Henry VIII of England beheaded one of his wives for infidelity.

In these modern times, there are cultures that if a woman commits infidelity, she will be stoned to death as a punishment.

Remember Lorena Bobbit? She claimed that for years, she suffered physical and mental abusive inflicted by her husband John, therefore in a fit of rage, she inflicted upon him the most unimaginable emotional and physical pain that any male could ever endure. She cut off his crown! Then he went on to become an actor!

So, irrespective of the fact that it's the 1500, 1800, 19th or the 20th century, infidelity is within our society. We had been made to believe that infidelity is wrong. Adam only has Eve, and there is nothing in the bible that indicated that Adam or Eve committed adultery. Well, Eve took a bite on the Apple. So the Apple did it!

But then again, this play is only a fiction

At the end of the day, most of us are born monogamous. We believe in love and abhor cheating partners. Although there are some that think they are a gift to men or women. These Don Giovannis of the world will never be fully contented, they will never love and be loved unconditionally.
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*Mila Wood was invited as a guest
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Why? Watch th greatest opera of all time
Where: The Independent Cinema - 269 Miller St. North Sydney
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