Amanda Majeski and Lucas Meacham in Lyric Opera's new production of Don Giovanni (photo by Kyle Flubacker).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
Lyric Opera to Present New Production of Mozart's Iconic Opera, Don Giovanni
Don Giovanni, Mozart’s musically brilliant and masterful tale of lust and revenge, returns to Lyric Opera of Chicago on Thursday, November 14. Don Giovanni features an accomplished cast of favorite Lyric artists and exciting, acclaimed newcomers in a lavish original 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 FangLy making her Lyric debut), among others. 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.
Two performances of Don Giovanni 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 in 9 separate productions.
Acclaimed American conductor James Gaffigan leads these performances. Robert Falls, esteemed artistic director of the Goodman Theatre, 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 serves as wigmaster and makeup designer.
There will be nine performances through December 8 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Tickets start at $39 and are available now at lyricopera.org/Giovanni or by calling 312-827-5600.