The Greek National Opera is streaming Don Giovanni through July 31, 2021
A co-production of the Greek National Opera with the Göteborg Opera (Sweden) and the Royal Danish Opera
Mozart’s Don Giovanni is the first of Greek National Opera’s international co-productions scheduled to be created and premiere in Athens, and then travel to the other two opera houses participating in the co-production. Due to the pandemic, the production will not be presented to a live audience, but it was pre recorded in the Stavros Niarchos Hall and its world premiere is presented on GNO TV. Don Giovanni’s production and GNO TV were made possible by a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) [www.SNF.org] to enhance the Greek National Opera’s artistic outreach.
One of the greatest milestones of the operatic repertoire, Don Giovanni is a challenge not only for opera singers but also for the creative team called upon to stage it. Mozart’s exceptionally imaginative music conveys all the aspects of the course of a man who fights with God and takes his fate in his own hands, while managing to connect the world of the nobles with the comic characters, in an unprecedented way. In this emblematic work nothing is as it seems, since ambiguity runs through both the libretto and the music. The story is about the amorous adventures of the philanderer Spanish nobleman, Don Giovanni. In one of them, he attempts to rape Donna Anna. In his effort to escape, he kills her father, who then returns from the world of the dead to take revenge. As Don Giovanni does not repent for his actions, he is led to Hell.
The sets and costumes of the new production of Don Giovanni were created entirely in GNO’s construction workshops, rehearsals took place in October and November 2020 in GNO’s rehearsal halls, and the performance was video recorded in mid-December in the Stavros Niarchos Hall. The production was video recorded by a state-of-the-art eight-camera system and directed using special filmmaking techniques, to offer a high-quality viewing and listening experience. The performance is presented on GNO TV, and subtitles are available in Greek, English and French.
The production is conducted by Australian conductor Daniel Smith and directed by John Fulljames, with the participation of the Orchestra and Chorus of the Greek National Opera and starring distinguished Greek soloists
John Fulljames is the artistic director of the Royal Danish Opera, former deputy artistic director of the Royal Opera House, London, and founder and artistic director of the avant-garde British artistic company The Opera Group. He has directed performances at the world’s most significant opera houses, such as La Scala, Milan, Covent Garden, Teatro Real in Madrid, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, etc. The director, who sets the opera’s action in a modern-day hotel, in the microcosm of a city where the private becomes public, and the stay lasts only a limited time, notes: “Don Giovanni is an enduring opera because it has so many aspects; there are broad humour and great theatrical set pieces, all in a dark thriller about a seducer who must be stopped. It is about how we live together in society and, as ever with opera, about how we face death. The climax is the long-awaited death of Don Giovanni himself as he chooses death, hell even, over denying who he is. His death is an expression of order reasserting itself over the unrestrained liberty he represents”.
The people who worked alongside Fulljames for Don Giovanni’s spectacular staging are associate director Aylin Bozok, the set designer Dick Bird. He designed the impressive sets representing all the aspects of a city hotel, costume designer Annemarie Woods, choreographer Maxine Braham, lighting designer Fabiana Piccioli, video designer Will Duke and video programmer Dan Trenchard.
It was videotaped in the Stavros Niarchos Hall of ELS on December 10, 12 and 15, 2020.For tickets see https://tv.nationalopera.gr/en/opera/don-giovanni/