Utah Opera's 2016-17 Season Closes with Mozart's "Don Giovanni" Featured

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (April 27, 2017) – In May 2017, Utah Opera will present Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” a tale of love, seduction, and murder as seen through the stylized lens of a 1950s “film noir” cinematic approach. This production will be performed five times at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre on May 13, 15, 17, 19 at 7:30 PM and May 21 at 2 PM. Tickets, priced from $21-$92, are available for purchase through www.utahopera.org or by calling (801) 533-6683.

The story of “Don Giovanni” is a parable of the consequence of immorality. Though at first glance Don Giovanni is appealing with his advances and promises, he represents a long dead aristocratic way of life. As a serial philanderer and an unapologetic killer with unconstrained impulses, he leaves a long trail of women in his wake. Going where he wants, doing what he wants, and being what he pleases can only go on for so long.

Stage Director Kristine McIntyre returns to Utah Opera after directing “The Pearl Fishers” in January 2015, and lends a distinct 1950s “film noir” approach to Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” where the classic anti hero and femme fatale characters are challenged and subverted. Says Ms. McIntyre of Utah Opera’s production: “Don Giovanni knows he can’t run from his past. It always catches up with him—whether in the guise of a beautiful, scorned woman, or the ghost of the father-figure he murdered in cold blood. Call it fate, call it justice, it always gets him in the end.”

She is joined by returning conductor Christopher Larkin, who last led the cast and musicians of the Utah Symphony in the company’s 2011 production of “Little Women.”

This production will feature the Utah Opera debuts of baritone Joshua Hopkins in the title role, soprano Melinda Whittington in the role of Donna Anna, and soprano Caitlin Lynch in the role of Donna Elvira. Returning after roles in Utah Opera’s March 2015 production of “Così fan tutte” are bass-baritone Matthew Burns as Leporello and former Utah Opera Resident Artist tenor Aaron Blake as Don Ottavio. Richard Wiegold, who last performed in the company’s 2014 production of “Turandot,” returns to the Capitol Theatre stage as the Commendatore. Current Utah Opera Resident Artists mezzo soprano Sarah Coit and baritone Markel Reed sing the roles of Zerlina and Masetto.

“When I think on “Don Giovanni,” I hardly know where to begin. As a musician, I approach the work with an element of reverence and it has always been a favorite with opera audiences around the world. Often when the piece is mentioned, one hears the words “masterpiece” and “flawless.”  Why is this?” said Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth. “In the title character we have an individual who intrigues us and revolts us at the same time.  He is in one moment irresistible to women and later haunts them.  Simply put (and it is not easy to admit) we have a love-hate relationship with the Don, who – to the very end – is committed to his way of life regardless of the consequences.”

Costumes in the tailored 1950s style were pulled together from a variety of sources, both purchased vintage items and also from the Utah Opera Production Studios costume department that houses wardrobe pieces constructed for more than 50 complete opera productions.

“All of the lead women were inspired by the classic design lines of Christian Dior,” explained Utah Opera Costume Director Verona Green. “Kristine and I scoured local vintage stores for pieces and then I hit our costume racks to look for as many pieces as we could use for leads and chorus.  I discovered that pieces that fit bodies 60 years ago don’t necessarily fit 2017 bodies so we have filled in with costumes built in our Costume Shop and also purchased others.”

The performance will last approximately 3 hours with one intermission. 

RELATED EVENTS
Utah Symphony | Utah Opera's education and community outreach department facilitates an online "Learn Before You Go" series prior to each opera. Online learning materials about “Don Giovanni” have been prepared by Brigham Young University School of Music professor Dr. Luke Howard. Check them out at www.utahopera.org/onlinelearning.

On May 9 starting at 4:30 PM, Salt Lake Public Library (210 E 400 S) will present a free Film Noir Double Screening of “Double Indemnity” at 4:30 PM and “Out of the Past” at 7 PM in the 4th floor meeting room. “Don Giovanni” stage director Kristine McIntyre will speak at 6:45 PM about overarching themes in the films that inspired her vision for the opera production. Pillows and blankets are welcome. Drinks with a lid and discrete snacks (hard candy, chocolate, etc.) are acceptable – no popcorn please.

Utah Opera and media partner “Salt Lake magazine” present Libretti & Libations, a promotion with eight of Salt Lake City's and Park City's top mixologists offering craft cocktails inspired by the storyline and characters of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni.” Participants are encouraged to post photos of the craft cocktails on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #UtahOperaSips to enter a contest to win a pair of tickets to Mozart’s “Don Giovanni." For more details about Libretti & Libations and a complete list of participating restaurants, visit www.utahopera.org/libations.

On May 10, Visually-impaired guests are invited along with a driver/seeing companion to attend the annual Night for the Blind & Visually Impaired during the Wednesday night dress rehearsal of the opera. At 6:00 PM, our Principal Coach and Director of Education & Outreach will talk about the opera, pass around prepared fabric samples of costumes, and share information about the set. Braille translations of the supertitles and large print copies of the synopsis are available, as well as headsets through which a play-by-play description of stage action is broadcast from our translator's booth. This event is an annual collaboration between Utah Opera, the Moran Eye Center, and the Utah Council for the Blind. The event is free of charge, register online at http://www.usuoeducation.org/index.php/families/events-for-individuals-with-special-needs.

On May 11, students in grades 7 through 12 can attend Utah Opera's final dress rehearsal of "Don Giovanni” at the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre through "Opera-tunities Night" for only $5. The price is the same for teachers/chaperones accompanying students. Visit www.usuoeducation.org/index.php/for-schools/opera-tunities for more information.

Opening night on May 13 will feature a red carpet event during which patrons can pose for a free photo. Photos will be posted on the Utah Opera Facebook page, allowing participants the chance to tag themselves during their night out on the town. Visit www.facebook.com/utahopera for more information. The starting time of the red carpet event is 6:30 PM.

Utah Opera Principal Coach Carol Anderson will offer an Opera Prelude Lecture, free of charge for ticket holders, in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South) one hour before curtain for each performance.

Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will hold a Q&A session, free of charge for ticket holders, immediately following each performance in the Capitol Room of the Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre (50 West 200 South).

PROGRAM
Utah Opera Presents
Mozart’s “Don Giovanni
Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre, 50 West 200 South, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84101

May 13, 15, 17, 19 | 7:30 PM
May 21 | 2 PM

“Don Giovanni”
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte
Setting: America, 1950s  
Performed in Italian with English Supertitles

SPONSORS
Utah Opera Season Sponsor: George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation
Production Sponsor: Zions Bank
Set and Costume Sponsor: BMW of Murray | BMW of Pleasant Grove
Utah Opera Artistic Director Sponsor: Emma Eccles Jones Foundation
Supertitles Sponsor: Frederick Q. Lawson Foundation
Thursday Student Dress Rehearsal Sponsor: Dominion Questar Corporation  
Opening Performance Sponsor: O.C. Tanner
Friday Performance Sponsor: Utah Division of Arts & Museums / National Endowment for the Arts
Floral Season Sponsor: Every Blooming Thing
Cast Party Sponsor: New Yorker
VIP Intermission Reception Sponsor: Bambara

CAST
Leporello…..................................................Matthew Burns
Donna Anna................................................Melinda Whittington
Don Giovanni..............................................Joshua Hopkins
Commendatore..........................................Richard Wiegold
Don Ottavio................................................Aaron Blake**
Donna Elvira...............................................Caitlin Lynch
Zerlina.........................................................Sarah Coit*
Masetto.......................................................Markel Reed*

ARTISTIC STAFF
Conductor………………………….........................Christopher Larkin
Director……………………….................................Kristine McIntyre
Chorus Master………………............................Michael Spassov
Scenery and Props…………..........................Courtesy of Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Scenery Design……………..............................R. Keith Brumley
Lighting Design……………………......................Nicholas Cavallaro
Costume Co-Design………………...................Verona Green & Kristine McIntyre; based on original design by Mary Traylor
Wig & Makeup Co-Design…………...............Shelley Carpenter, Daniel Jacob Hill
Stage Manager………………………....................Amy Soll
Assistant Stage Managers.…………............Ash Crystal, Emily E. Duffin
Principal Coach……………………......................Carol Anderson
Guest Coach……………..……………....................Emily Williams**
Rehearsal Pianist/Supertitle Musician….Timothy Accurso*

*Current Utah Opera Resident Artist.
**Former Utah Opera Resident Artist

The performance will last approximately 3 hours with one intermission.

SYNOPSIS
Setting: America, 1950s

Act I
At night, in the street outside the Commendatore’s house, Leporello bemoans his fate working for the dissolute Don Giovanni.  Suddenly Giovanni runs into the street pursued by Donna Anna, the Commendatore’s daughter, who accuses him of trying to attack her. The Commendatore rushes to his daughter’s aid and is killed by Don Giovanni.  Anna asks her fiancé, Don Ottavio, to avenge her father’s death.

At a café the next morning, Giovanni and Leporello encounter one of Giovanni’s former conquests, Donna Elvira, who is still angry at Giovanni’s betrayal. Leporello tries to discourage her from pursuing Giovanni by showing her his catalogue with the name of every woman Giovanni has seduced.

Meanwhile, Masetto and Zerlina celebrate their upcoming wedding with friends.  Don Giovanni asks Leporello to get rid of the groom.  Alone with Zerlina, Giovanni persuades her to come away with him.  Before they can leave, Elvira interrupts them and leads Zerlina away.  Momentarily thwarted, Giovanni greets the mourning Anna and Ottavio, only to be embarrassed by the persistent Elvira, who denounces him as a seducer.  Trying to dismiss her as a madwoman, he ushers Elvira off.  Anna, in horror, recognizes him as her father’s murderer and calls on Ottavio to avenge her honor.

Later that afternoon, Giovanni looks forward to an evening of revelry he has arranged in Zerlina’s honor. Zerlina begs the furious Masetto to forgive her. Anna, Ottavio and Elvira arrive in disguise, swearing vengeance, and Giovanni tells Leporello to invite them in.

Inside Giovanni’s nightclub, Leporello distracts Masetto while Giovanni dances with Zerlina, trying to drag her into an adjoining room.  When Zerlina cries for help, Anna, Elvira, and Ottavio unmask and confront Giovanni, who escapes.

Act II
Under Elvira’s balcony, Leporello exchanges clothes with Giovanni to woo the lady in his master’s stead.  Leporello and Elvira go off, leaving Giovanni free to serenade Elvira’s maid. When Masetto arrives with his friends to punish Giovanni, the disguised Don tricks Masetto and assaults him.  Zerlina tenderly consoles him.

Elvira follows the disguised Leporello into a dimly lit courtyard.  Leporello tries to escape, but is discovered by Anna, Ottavio, Zerlina and  Masetto.  Mistaking servant for master, they join in denouncing the supposed Don.  Frightened, Leporello reveals his identity and manages to escape.  Ottavio asks Zerlina and Masetto to comfort the distraught Anna and go to the authorities for help.  Left alone, Elvira thinks about her love for Giovanni in spite of everything.

Leporello finds Giovanni in a cemetery, where a statue of the slain Commendatore warns Giovanni of his doom. The Don forces the terrified Leporello to invite the statue to dinner.

Ottavio urges Anna to stop grieving and accept his love.  She implores him to wait until her father is avenged.

Late that night in the empty club, Giovanni orders Leporello to serve supper.  Elvira arrives and attempts to persuade Giovanni to reform his ways, but he sends her away.

In a final confrontation with the Commendatore, Giovanni is finally forced to pay for his crimes.

Synopsis courtesy ofLyric Opera of Kansas City

 

GUEST ARTIST BIOS
Matthew Burns (Virginia)
Leporello
Most recently at Utah Opera, “Così fan tutte”
Recently:
“II barbiere di Siviglia,” Virginia Opera;
“Don Giovanni,” Arizona Opera;
“Of Mice and Men,” Austin Lyric Opera
Upcoming:
“La mère coupable,” On Site Opera;
“The Marriage of Figaro,” Michigan Opera Theater

Melinda Whittington (North Carolina)
Donna Anna
Utah Opera Debut
Recently:
“Rusalka,” Arizona Opera;
“Carmen,” Greensboro Opera;
“Così fan tutte,” Charlottesville Opera;
“The Ghosts of Versailles,” Wolf Trap Opera
Upcoming:
“Cold Mountain,” North Carolina Opera;
“Roméo et Juliette, Opera Birmingham

Joshua Hopkins (Canada)
Don Giovanni
Utah Opera Debut
Recently:
“Faust,” Houston Grand Opera;
“Die Zauberflöte”, Canadian Opera Company;
“The New Prince,” Dutch National Opera (World Premiere)
Upcoming:
“Così fan tutte,” Lyric Opera of Chicago;
“Roméo et Juliette,” The Metropolitan Opera

Richard Wiegold (United Kingdom)
Commendatore
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Turandot”
Recently:
“Madama Butterfly,” Welsh National Opera;
“Das Rheingold,” North Carolina Opera;
“Don Giovanni,” Lyric Opera of Kansas City
Upcoming:
“Pelléas et Mélisande,” Cincinnati Opera

Aaron Blake (California)
Don Ottavio
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Così fan tutte”
Recently:
“La traviata,” The Metropolitan Opera;
“The Pearl Fishers,” Tulsa Opera;
“Fellow Travelers,” Cincinnati Opera
Upcoming;
“Angels in America,” New York City Opera;
“Die Zauberflöte,” Cincinnati Opera

Caitlin Lynch (North Dakota)
Donna Elvira
Utah Opera Debut
Recently:
“The Magic Flute,” Metropolitan Opera;
“Carmen,” Ongaku-juku;
“Don Giovanni,” English National Opera
Upcoming:
“Le nozze di Figaro,” Metropolitan Opera
“Die Entführung aus dem Serail,” Madison Opera

Sarah Coit (Florida)
Zerlina
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Man of La Mancha”
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
Recently:
“Don Giovanni,” The Santa Fe Opera;
“The Merry Widow,” “Carmen,” Utah Opera;
“The Child and the Enchantments,” Mozart Requiem, Utah Symphony
Upcoming:
“Lucia di Lammermoor,” The Santa Fe Opera;
“Le nozze di Figaro,” Michigan Opera Theatre

Markel Reed (North Carolina)
Masetto
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Man of La Mancha”
Current Utah Opera Resident Artist
Recently:
“II barbiere di Siviglia,” Soo Opera Theatre;
“Tosca,” “Carmen,” Utah Opera;
“Le nozze di Figaro,” Bronx Opera
Upcoming:
“Madame Butterfly,” “The Pirates of Penzance,” Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre

ARTISTIC STAFF

Christopher Larkin (New Jersey)
Conductor
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Little Women”
Recently:
“Le nozze di Figaro,” “The Italian Girl in Algiers,” Utah Opera;
“The Turn of the Screw,” Portland Opera;
“La bohème,” Nashville Opera;
“Angels in America,” Fort Worth Opera

Kristine McIntyre (Oregon)
Director/Costume Co-Design
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “The Pearl Fishers”
Recently:
“Dead Man Walking,” Lyric Opera of Kansas City;
“Soldier Songs,” Des Moines Metro Opera;
“Jane Eyre” (world premiere), Center for Contemporary Opera, New York
Upcoming:
“Billy Budd,” Des Moines Metro Opera;
“Moby-Dick,” Utah Opera, Pittsburgh Opera

Michael Spassov (Canada)
Utah Opera Resident Chorusmaster
Most Recently at Utah Opera, “Lucia di Lammermoor”
Recently:
“Capriccio,” The Santa Fe Opera;
“La fanciulla del West”, The Santa Fe Opera;
“Roméo et Juliette”, Atlanta Opera

Verona Green (Utah)
Costume Co-Design
Utah Opera Design debut
Recently:
“Pagliacci,” Shreveport
Utah Opera Resident Costume Director

Daniel Jacob Hill (Utah)
Wig and Make-up Co-Design
“The Long Walk,” Utah Opera
Recently:
“Madame Butterfly,” Ballet West;
“Lucia di Lammermoor,” “Man of La Mancha,” “Carmen,” “The Marriage of Figaro,” Utah Opera

About Utah Opera
Utah Opera, established by Glade Peterson in 1978, has been part of the community for nearly 40 years,  engaging Utah residents through inspiring operatic performances. The opera company presents four annual productions at the historic Janet Quinney Lawson Capitol Theatre. Utah Opera operates a production studio where productions are rehearsed and costumes, props and set pieces are designed, made, rented out and stored. The opera currently has 19 full sets and costumes for 50 full productions in its inventory. Utah Opera also offers a Resident Artist Program, a nationally recognized young artist training program for professional singers and pianists who perform for more than 70,000 students each year through the organization’s education and outreach activities. For more information, visit www.utahopera.org.

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Season Sponsor for Utah Symphony | Utah Opera is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

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