Don Giovanni: A Tale of Lust and Betrayal

Don Giovanni, the epic tale of love, lust, murder and betrayal, is currently on stage at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Mozart's timeless masterpiece ignites passions like no other.

The Local Tourist opening night tickets for two courtesy of Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The seducer. The philanderer. The libertine who takes what he wants and lives only for his own pleasure. All three are Don Giovanni, antihero in Mozart’s drama of lust and revenge.

Zerlina and Don Giovanni. Photo by Kyle Flubacker.
Photo by Kyle Flubacker.

Love, murder, betrayal and a portal to hell. Passions run high in Mozart’s timeless masterpiece, now once again on stage at Lyric Opera. Bereaved Donna Anna, frustrated Donna Elvira, vulnerable Zerlina – all fall under the spell of the serial seducer and philanderer Don Giovanni. You know he is bad to the bone when he kills Donna Anna’s father, the Commendatore. And yet somehow the charming monster is irresistible. It’s complicated. Mozart and Da Ponte reveal many facets of the troubling, complex character and all who surround him through magnificent operatic drama.

Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. Photo by Kyle Flubacker.
Photo by Kyle Flubacker.

Don Giovanni features an accomplished cast of favorite Lyric artists and exciting, acclaimed newcomers in a lavish original Lyric production. American baritone Lucas Meachem (Nov. 14 – 30) and Italian baritone Davide Luciano (Dec. 3 – 8, Lyric debut) portray the infamous serial seducer who is aided and abetted by his conflicted servant Leporello (English bass Matthew Rose). The opera starts with the masked Giovanni’s assault of Donna Anna (American soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen/Lyric debut) and murder of her father, the Commendatore (Finnish bass Mika Kares/Lyric debut). A series of evasions, seductions, and deceptions ensue as Don Giovanni attempts to dodge the fiery Donna Elvira (American soprano Amanda Majeski, a Ryan Opera Center alumna) while pursuing the impressionable peasant bride Zerlina (Chinese soprano Ying Fang/Lyric debut), among others.

Donna Anna and Don Ottavio Pray for Revenge in Don Giovanni. 
Photo by Kyle Flubacker.
Photo by Kyle Flubacker.

American tenor Ben Bliss portrays Donna Anna’s fiancé Don Ottavio and American bass-baritone Brandon Cedel is Zerlina’s temporarily jilted husband Masetto (both Lyric debuts). The dissolute Don eventually gets his just deserts when a commemorative statue of the Commendatore comes to life and demands repentance.

Don Giovanni Descends Into Hell. Photo by Kyle Flubacker.
Photo by Kyle Flubacker.

Two performances of Mozart’s insightful masterpiece in January of 1954 served as the “calling card” for a group of young Chicagoans who’d decided to start a brand-new opera company. The city’s enthusiastic response led to Lyric’s first official season in November of 1954. Since then, the company has presented Don Giovanni in 1956, 1961, 1964, 1969, 1980, 1988|89, 1995|96, 2004|05, and 2014|15.

Acclaimed American conductor James Gaffigan leads these performances. The renowned artistic director of the Goodman Theatre, Robert Falls, directs the production (set in early 1900s Spain), which features opulent sets designed by Walt Spangler, lavish costumes designed by Ana Kuzmanic, and evocative lighting by Duane Schuler. Michael Black is chorus master, August Tye is choreographer, and Sarah Hatten is wigmaster and makeup designer.

Masquerades in Don Giovanni. Photo by Kyle Flubacker.
Photo by Kyle Flubacker.

Don Giovanni is performed in Italian with projected English translations. Estimated running time is 3 hours 20 minutes, including one 30-minute intermission.

Performance dates for Don Giovanni are November 14, 17, 20, 23, 26 and 30, and December 3, 5 and 8. Performance times vary. For tickets and information call 312-827-5600 or visit the website.

Lyric Opera is located inside historic Civic Opera House in the heart of downtown Chicago, 20 North Upper Wacker Drive.

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