Published21 Mar 2014
Opera Philadelphia Presents Mozart's Don Giovanni, April 25-May 4 at the Academy of Music
Elliot Madore and Michelle Johnson lead a hot young cast in Mozart’s classic tale of a scoundrel who wanted everything
Widely regarded as one of the greatest operas ever composed, Don Giovanni returns to Philadelphia in five performances at the Academy of Music, April 25-May 4, 2014, weaving the tale of the legendary rake Don Juan in Mozart’s alternately playful and dramatic musical masterpiece. With an ingenious staging of masquerades, trapdoors and mirrored panels, the production shines a spotlight on opera’s most infamous scoundrel in a timeless classic of comedy and tragedy set to music of limitless genius. Mozart’s anti-hero has a personality so engaging that audiences will wonder why they are rooting for him as he charms and abandons women at will, until his darkest side emerges.
The opera is best known for its imposing Overture and highlights like the Catalogue Aria, in which Don Giovanni’s servant, Leporello, lists his master’s many conquests. In addition, the Champagne Aria, the charming seduction duet “Là ci darem la mano,” Donna Elvira’s anguished “Mi tradì, quell'alma ingrate,” and lovely arias such as “Non mi dir”make this among opera’s finest and best-loved works.
When Opera Philadelphia set out to cast this production of Don Giovanni, the company’s artistic team listened to some of opera’s finest young talents. “And a funny thing happened on the way to the Academy,” said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. “As we were casting these roles, we kept finding these great, nationally-renowned singers who had connections to Philadelphia. In many ways, we have assembled an all-star Philadelphia cast, and that makes us even more excited to share this incredible production with our great city.”
A cadre of the most prestigious alumni of the Curtis Institute of Music and the Academy of Vocal Arts come home to star in director Nicholas Muni’s lavish production, which is conducted by George Manahan. Baritone Elliot Madore (Yamadori in 2009’s Madame Butterfly), a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music and a winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, returns as the beguiling Giovanni. Madore has been hailed for his “robust singing and take-no-prisoners acting” (The New York Times) and the “seductive qualities” (Wall Street Journal) of his performances as the Don.
Soprano Michelle Johnson, described as “a lovely, vivid actress with a rich, penetrating voice” by The New York Times, returns as Donna Anna, the conflicted object of Giovanni's desire. The Academy of Vocal Arts alumnus is herself a Grand Prize winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Johnson made a dazzling Opera Philadelphia debut in 2012 in the title role of Puccini’s Manon Lescaut.
American lyric soprano Amanda Majeski (Curtis Institute of Music), hailed by Musical America for the “silvery beauty” of her voice, makes her role debut as the spurned Donna Elvira, with David Portillo (Goro in Madame Butterfly) as Anna’s loyal fiancé, Don Ottavio. Joseph Barron (Curtis Institute of Music), last seen here in Otello, plays Giovanni’s loyal servant, Leporello. “Rising star” (Chicago Tribune) American mezzo-soprano Cecelia Hall makes her company debut as Zerlina, another of the Don’s attempted conquests, with Wes Mason (Academy of Vocal Arts), praised by Opera News as a “gifted and fiercely committed young baritone,” debuting as her fiancé, Masetto. Nicholas Masters (Academy of Vocal Arts), “a bass voice at once stentorian and agile” (The Washington Post)makes his company debut as Il Commendatore.
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Performed in Italian with English supertitles
Production from Cincinnati Opera
April 25, 27m, 30, May 2, 4m, 2014
Academy of Music
Runtime: 3 hours, including one 20-minute intermission
Performance times: Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Sunday matinees at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets to Don Giovanni at the Academy of Music are now on sale at www.operaphila.org or by calling 215.893.1018.