Skylark Opera, along with Angels and Demons Entertainment, is continuing their streak of creating a high quality and intimate Opera experience with Don Giovanni at the Woman's Club of Minneapolis. The story of the downfall of the womanizer Don Giovanni has been transported into the prohibition era and translated into English by Gabriel Preisser, who also plays Don Giovanni, and Robert Neu of Angels and Demons Entertainment.
The story fits well into the 1920s era, and the Woman's Club wonderfully sets the stage. The hors d'oeuvres passed around before the show and during intermission, included as part of you ticket price, certainly don't hurt either. The Woman's Club also creates some challenges in the staging. If you aren't in the first couple of rows you can't see the action that is taking place close to the ground, but regardless of that, you can still hear the unmiced voices beautifully.
Opera is an art form that is traditionally performed without amplification (microphones), and seeing it in this way in such an intimate setting where the voice can fill the room is certainly stunning. The entire cast is extremely talented but I particularly enjoyed Benjamin Sieverding as Masetto and Il Commendatore, who I've seen many times at before at the Minnesota Opera, and Tess Altiveros as Donna Elvira, whose beautifully rich voice I feel in love with in Skylark Opera's last show, The Tragedy of Carmen. Although the show is dark, this translation and production relies heavily on comedy. The performers were able the handle this balance of tone with great skill.
Many Operas, even those performed in English, rely on surtitles (a way to project the lyrics onto the stage). These do not exist in this production and are for the most part not needed. The lack of surtitles allows the audience to focus more on the action than the lyrics, yet still at times in the second act it was hard to understand the lyrics being sung. Being familiar with the plot before seeing the show will aid in your experience. Therefore if you have never seen the show before I suggest you look up the plot before you go (and not during the show).
Don Giovanni only has two performances left, and if they aren't already sold out I suggest you buy your tickets now. Skylark Opera delivers a truly unique and exhilarating theatrical and musical experience.
Its last two shows are on June 23rd and June 25th.