‘Don Giovanni’ review

I’m sure you can conjure up an image of the everyday player on campus — the guy who’s smooth with the ladies and can sweet talk his way out of any situation. Now imagine the same guy running around Italy, dodging ex-lovers and singing operatic versions of his best lines. That’s “Don Giovanni” in a nutshell.

The opera is a classically Italian tale with a distinctly modern twist and performers from the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program infuse the production with pizzazz and humor. The performance of “Don Giovanni”, a work originally composed by Mozart, is part of the program’s annual Washington National Opera main stage season. I had the opportunity to see a teaser at the Cultural Arts Center at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus on Wednesday, September 19.

Though I got to witness only a selection of scenes from the concerto, the general storyline of the production follows protagonist Don Giovanni (Javier Arrey) on comical romantic escapades whereby he evades those trying to bring him to justice. Over the course of the production he steals bride-to-be Zerlina (Shantelle Przybylo), eludes his scorned lover Donna Elvira (María Eugenia), and flees from angry fiancés — all with the help of his obedient servant Leporello (Kenneth Kellogg). But eventually, Don Giovanni’s womanizing past catches up with him. There are a number of plot twists and even a quirky instance of mistaken identity that will keep even the most Italian-deficient student entertained. And for those wary of a language barrier, little is lost in translation as the performance has English supertitles.

However, be aware that the opera is somewhat of an acquired taste. Some liken opera to a musical, but it is a breed entirely its own. The singers in the production have incredible range and their voices have beautiful musicality but if your ears have an aversion to listening to the high, clear voice of a soprano for a few hours, you may want to sit this one out. An enriching experience all the same, the show will please opera-goers new and old alike.

“Don Giovanni” as performed by singers of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Program will be on Saturday, October 13 at 7 p.m at the Kennedy Center Opera House. There will be an additional pre-game performance at Nationals Park on Saturday, September 29th.