The serial seducer is on the loose again, in a new production from one of the most provocative minds in opera today, Sir David McVicar.
Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ Don is mad, he’s bad, he’s dangerous but, damn him to hell, his serenades are just divine.
In the role he was born to sing, Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ powerful magnetism, dark-hued voice and imposing physique make being bad seem oh so good.
Before Don Giovanni opens his mouth, before the curtain has even gone up, Mozart has us jumping out of our skins with an earth-shattering D Minor chord from the pit: the sound of the gates of hell juddering open.
Opera’s lecherous anti-hero has already been condemned – the work was originally subtitled “the libertine punished”, after all.
But how do we judge the notorious ladies’ man today? Is he a sex addict, or just a rich, randy player whose diversions have become an inexorable way of life? Are fire and brimstone really his just desserts?
And in any case, isn’t he losing his touch?
Although his list of conquests extends beyond a staggering 2,000 names, we never see him complete his ritual seduction – even if we hear some very persuasive serenades along the way.
Sir David McVicar teases out the psychological drama of these questions in a highly anticipated new production and Australian debut from the leading opera director of his generation.
And in the role he was born to sing, Teddy Tahu Rhodes’ powerful magnetism, dark-hued voice and imposing physique make being bad seem oh so good. The Don has met his match.
|Director||Sir David McVicar|
|Set & Costume Designer||Robert Jones|
|Lighting Designer||David Finn|
|Assistant Director||Matthew Barclay|
|Don Giovanni||Teddy Tahu Rhodes|
|Donna Anna||Elvira Fatykhova|
|Don Elvira||Nicole Car (until 16 August)
|Don Ottavio||John Longmuir|
Running time: approx three hours with one twenty-minute interval.
Performed in Italian with English surtitles.
Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Don Giovanni sings The Champagne Aria ('Fin ch' han dal vino')
Interview: Teddy Tahu Rhodes as Don Giovanni with Opera Australia
La ci darem la mano - Teddy Tahu Rhodes (Don Giovanni) Taryn Feibig (Zerlina)
“Teddy Tahu Rhodes is an ideal Don Giovanni”
Outside the Commendatore’s house, Leporello stands watch for his master, Don Giovanni, who has gone inside to seduce
the Commendatore’s daughter, Donna Anna. When she tries to unmask him Don Giovanni flees. The Commendatore pursues the
intruder and is killed by him in a duel. Donna Anna makes Don Ottavio, her fiancé, swear to avenge her father’s
Don Giovanni turns to new adventures. On the street he sees a lady, Donna Elvira, who is searching for the man who seduced and abandoned her. She recognises Don Giovanni as her seducer. He makes off, promising that Leporello will explain everything. Leporello runs through the extensive catalogue of his master’s conquests.
Don Giovanni encounters a group of peasants celebrating the marriage of Zerlina and Masetto. He invites the entire party to a banquet, telling Leporello to get rid of the groom. Just as Don Giovanni is about to ensnare Zerlina, Donna Elvira appears and takes the peasant girl under her protection. Donna Anna and Don Ottavio arrive and enlist Don Giovanni’s help in seeking vengeance for the Commendatore’s murder. Donna Elvira interrupts and accuses Don Giovanni of deserting her; he tells the others she is mad and ushers her out. Donna Anna tells Don Ottavio that she has recognised Don Giovanni as her father’s murderer.
Don Giovanni gives Leporello instructions for the feast. Zerlina tries to make peace with the jealous Masetto. Masetto hides and eavesdrops as Don Giovanni resumes his seduction of Zerlina. When the enraged Masetto confronts Don Giovanni, the latter invites them both into the party. Donna Anna, Donna Elvira and Don Ottavio enter masked and are invited to join the festivities. While Leporello is distracting Masetto, Don Giovanni entices Zerlina into an adjoining room. Her cries for help are heard, and when Don Giovanni tries to accuse Leporello of being the offender, the three avengers unmask and denounce Don Giovanni.
Leporello is tired of the life he is leading, but a bribe persuades him not only to continue in service, but also to exchange
clothing with Don Giovanni for yet another amorous adventure. The target this time is Elvira’s maid, and Leporello is
to distract the mistress. Masetto enters with some peasants intent on punishing Don Giovanni. The disguised Don leads them
in different directions and then gives Masetto a beating. Zerlina consoles Masetto.
Leporello, still disguised as Don Giovanni, tries vainly to escape Donna Elvira in the darkness. Don Ottavio and Donna Anna enter, soon joined by Masetto and Zerlina. Leporello, realising the danger, discards his disguise, apologises and manages to escape.
Don Giovanni finds himself in a cemetery, at the foot of the Commendatore’s monument. He is joined by Leporello. Don Giovanni is warned by the statue of his approaching doom. He forces the terrified Leporello to invite the statue to supper. The stone figure nods its head in acceptance.
Don Giovanni dines, waited on by Leporello while a band of musicians plays music from popular operas. Donna Elvira makes a last attempt to induce him to repent. He ridicules her until she leaves. There is a loud knock at the door. It is the statue of the Commendatore, who has arrived for dinner. Don Giovanni accepts the Commendatore’s return invitation and as a pledge grasps the extended hand of the statue. The grip is ice-cold, but even as his limbs begin to freeze, Don Giovanni refuses to repent. He is hurled down into the flames of hell. Leporello informs the other characters of what has taken place and the others begin to resume their former safer, but less exciting lives.