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Monthly Archives: May 2012

The Atlanta Opera Presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni

Atlanta is no stranger to Mozart’s great opera, Don Giovanni. The work was brought to the city seven times by the Metropolitan Opera Tour between 1954 and 1978, the impressive list of heavy hitters back then included George London, Cesare Siepi, Eleanor Steber, Leontyne Price, Nicolai Gedda, and Lisa Della Casa, just to mention a few. The Atlanta Opera proper first mounted its first production of Don Giovanni at the Woodruff Arts Center in 1993, and it is here where I can count myself as one with a personal remembrance of the luminaries of that first cast: Dean Peterson as Don Giovanni, Kip Wilburn as Don Ottavio, and Brenda Harris’ spectacular Atlanta Opera debut as Donna Anna. The company staged the work for the second time in grand fashion at the Fox Theater in 1998, and many still remember the more racy elements of that production. The mind’s ear remembers best Eugene Perry as Don Giovanni, Matile Rowland as Donna Anna, Brian Jauhianen as the Commendatore, Pamela Kucenic as Donna Elvira and Philip Cokorinos as Leporello. The last staging of the opera undertaken by the company took place in 2004, this time at the Civic Center with a lineup that almost merged the casts of the prior two productions (Dean Peterson reprising his Don Giovanni, Brenda Harris now as an exemplary Donna Elvira, Jeff Morrissey as Masetto, and the wonderful Leporello of Phillip Cokorinos). This new production of Don Giovanni thus marks the company’s fourth effort in mounting what many have ruled as one of, if not the, greatest opera ever written. Sadly, judging by the opening night’s performance on April 28, the values of the current presentation ranked below those of the company’s past efforts; and this was not due to the flexible baton of maestro Arthur Fagen, or the bare simple sets provided by Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Rather, the performance was undermined by a general clumsiness in Richard Kagey’s direction and an extremely uneven cast.

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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Arts, Opera

 

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