Considered an absolute masterpiece – the philosopher Kierkegaard termed it “a work without blemish, of uninterrupted perfection” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni is currently one of the top five operas most performed worldwide, as well as being one of the most difficult.
This is one of the reasons that led La Monnaie to turn to the director Krzysztof Warlikowski, a luminary of the international theatre and lyrical scene and creator of three of the most powerful productions of our last season: Médée (2008), Macbeth – voted « Best production of the Year 2009-2010 » by the magazine Opernwelt – and Lulu in 2012. We are always hit by the strength of conviction of his work, the originality of his images, the accuracy of his interpretation. Little wonder that he has won the support of the public and press alike.
In command of the La Monnaie Symphonic Orchestra and Choir will be its permanent conductor Ludovic Morlot for his third Mozart.
With Don Giovanni, Mozart has not only composed one of the most beautiful music pieces ever written, but he transcended the genre of drama giocoso giving the character of the seducer a dimension of myth. The opera is the story of a fall, the fall of a seducer everyone condemns, but equally about a man uncompromisingly fighting against the taboos of a society locked in rigid codes of behaviour. And beyond the fall, there is also the story of a failure, that of love itself, which takes on a bitter and cynical taste, quite unusual for a composer who had previously celebrated its pleasures. No character escapes disenchantment: Zerlina is more cunning than her innocence would suppose, Donna Elvira’s whining affects the purity of her fidelity, Donna Anna’s dignity is tainted by her lust for revenge. It is these ambiguities that make the drama’s protagonists real, humanly true. Only Donna Anna’s fiancé, Don Ottavio, who continues to love and hope against all odds, escapes this ambivalence.
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Don Giovanni requires singers who combine the sense of theatre and appropriate vocal abilities: flexibility, intelligence and colour. La Monnaie assembled a cast that should satisfy both. Almost all will be making theirdebuts in their roles.
Jean-Sébastien Bou is a French baritone whose career has undergone a spectacular development. He makes hisdebuts at La Monnaie in the role of Don Giovanni.
In 2012 the Canadian mezzo-soprano Barbara Hannigan offered us an incredible Lulu in Krzysztof Warlikowski’s production. She is making her debuts in the role of Donna Anna.
It is surprising that Sir Willard White has not already sung Il Commendatore, for his powerful presence and natural authority on stage could only be intended for this role. At La Monnaie, we have recently heard him as Vodník (Rusalka).
Born in Israel, the mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham interprets for the first time the personage of Donna Elvira. She debuted at La Monnaie in the title role of Cinderella (Massenet) in 2011.
Andreas Wolf debuted in the last season at La Monnaie with the role of Guglielmo for Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte, directed by Michael Hanneke. He makes his debuts in Leporello.
After his roles of Tamino (Die Zauberflöte, Mozart) and Pylade (Iphigénie en Tauride, Gluck), the Finnish tenor Topi Lehtipuu is coming back to interpret Donna Anna’s fiancé, Don Ottavio.
At La Monnaie, the young Zerlina will be incarnated for the first time by the French soprano Julie Mathevet,who at La Monnaie created the role of Eglé for the world premiere of Benoit Mernier’s La Dispute in March 2013. Joining her, the young Masetto will equally be a first for the French baritone Jean-Luc Ballestra, who has performed on numerous occasions at La Monnaie.