The Two Gay Geeks had the pleasure of attending the Arizona Opera production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni on Saturday night. We have seen this opera live on several occasions (Los Angeles and Santa Fe) and a viewing of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD as well as many DVD productions. In fact it is one of our favorites and by far the most listened to opera in our household (We even have the full score and two librettos). So, it is safe to say that we have some intimate familiarity with the piece.
With all of that said, we really enjoyed this production. The staging by Tara Faircloth, who also directed Carmen (By the way, we had met Tara prior to Carmen and we were able to talk about her approach to stage directing.), was a good mix of standard period staging, as well non-standard use of quick scene changes and activity in front of the proscenium and curtain so as not to cause any breaks in the action.
Steven White (whom we also met prior to Carmen) was a delight to watch in his conducting of Don Giovanni, he was somewhat animated in when he wanted to stress a certain passage of the opera and was able to coax the nuances of this work out of the singers and orchestra to produce a most excellent sound. The orchestra was flawless as usual and it appeared to be a smaller chamber sized group for this production, which fits with Mozart’s score requirements.
Since we saw the production on a Saturday night, we saw what is traditionally known as the “B” cast but there was nothing B about these singers. Half of the eight cast members are previous or current participants in the Marion Roose Pullin Studio Program at Arizona Opera, and as General Director Ryan Taylor says, it is harder to get into the Studio Program at Arizona Opera than it is to get into Harvard. These young singers were at their vocal best during this performance. The other cast members are well-established singers in their own right and gave exceptional performances.
If you have wanted to investigate opera, you still have an opportunity to see Verdi’s Falstaff at the beginning of April at Phoenix Symphony Hall. Tickets are still available at Arizona Opera. You will not be disappointed.
See you at the Opera.
List of Cast for Saturday February 27th, 2016
Steven White – Conductor
Tara Faircloth – Stage Director
Joshua Borths – Assistant Director
Joseph Lattanzi – Don Giovanni
Andrea Shokery – Donna Anna
Sarah Larsen – Donna Elvira
Andrew Penning – Don Ottavio
Matthew Burns – Leporello
Alyssa martin – Zerlina
Ryan Kuster – Masetto
Peter Volpe – Commendatore
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