The Metropolitan Opera’s latest Live in HD transmission stars the baritone regarded as one of the most acclaimed Don Giovannis of our time – Peter Mattei. This new production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, is by Tony Award-winning director Ivo van Hove in his debut with the Met, and features soprano Federica Lombardi as Giovanni’s potential conquest Donna Anna.
Also in the cast are soprano Ana María Martínez as Donna Elvira who has been betrayed by Giovanni, and soprano Ying Fang as Zerlina, the young bride whom Giovanni tries to seduce. Tenor Ben Bliss is Don Ottavio, Donna Anna’s fiancé, and Adam Plachetka takes the role of Giovanni’s servant Leporello, Alfred Walker sings Masetto, Zerlina’s intended husband, and Alexander Tsymbalyuk is Donna Anna’s father,the Commendatore, bass-baritones all three.
This production – hailed by the Financial Times as “Magnificent”, and “… a resounding musical success” by the Observer – is led by Nathalie Stutzman, making her debut in the Live in HD series. Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra as of this season, and only the second woman in history to lead a major American orchestra, Maestra Stutzman has also been the Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra since 2021 and Chief Conductor of Norway’s Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra since 2018.
Don Giovanni, commissioned right after Mozart’s highly successful trip to Prague in 1787, is a two-act dramma giocoso – a particular type of comic opera, described by Daniel Heartz in The Musical Times as “A frolic with serious elements” – and is based on the fictional character, Don Juan, created by Spanish dramatist Tirso de Molina. Da Ponte based his libretto on Giovanni Bertati’s version for a former opera Don Giovanni Tenorio. The opera premiered in Prague at the Estates Theatre on October 29th in 1787. It was somewhat misunderstood at first, but ultimately it came to be regarded as one of the greatest of all operas.
It tells of Don Giovanni, a serial seducer with a huge ego, who cannot resist the charms of any woman, casting each lover aside without an ounce of remorse. He isn’t shy of murderous intent either – he kills the Commendatore who confronts him as Giovanni tries to seduce his daughter. Ultimately Giovanni meets his match in a graveyard in which a huge statue of the Commendatore stands. The statue urges him to repent of his ways, but Don Giovanni, unwilling to amend his lifestyle, succumbs to the fate which the Commendatore has predicted for him, and is consumed by the flames that have sprung up around him, as a chorus of demons condemns him to eternal damnation.
Federica Lombardi specializes in the interpretation of leading soprano roles in operatic works by Mozart. A regular guest at opera houses such as the Met, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden and the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, her future engagements include performances as the Contessa in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro at Chicago Lyric Opera, Mimi in Puccini’s La Bohème, Elettra in Mozart’s Idomeneo in Geneva, and the title role in Donizetti’s Anna Bolena at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Described by Opera News as “The incomparable Peter Mattei”, the Swedish baritone was named Vocalist of the Year by Musical America Awards in 2020. In addition to his appearance in Don Giovanni this season, he has also appeared for the Met as Rodrigo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, as well as performing in recital in several major concert houses in Europe, with pianist David Fray. Highlights of last season include appearances as the Count in Le Nozze di Figaro at Opéra National de Paris and also at Semperoper Dresden, the title role in Berg’s Wozzeck at Valencia’s Palau de les Arts, and in the live broadcast opera concert at the 2022 Verbier Festival in the title role of Don Giovanni.
Van Hove’s production – which has been set in an abstract architectural landscape – has set and lighting design by Jan Versweyveld, costume design by An D’Huys, and projection design by Christopher Ash, all making their Live in HD debuts, and choreography by Sara Erde. The Live in HD presentation for cinemas is directed by Gary Halvorson, and the transmission is hosted by soprano Erin Morley who will star as Pamina in Simon McBurney’s forthcoming new production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte for the Met, which will be transmitted live to cinemas on June 3.
This live production of Don Giovanni can be seen at cinemas worldwide on Saturday, May 20, at 12.55 pm (Eastern Time). To find your nearest theater, follow this link.
For select audiences who do not live near a participating cinema, Don Giovanni will also be available on The Met: Live at Home platform, which offers a livestream and on-demand viewing for seven days following the performance.
For more information about Don Giovanni, please visit the Metropolitan Opera website.
Information sourced from:
Met Opera program notes
Galaxy Music Notes