For generations of (male) musicologists, the character Don Giovanni has been something of an egalitarian sex god. These academics propped up their vision of Don-G-as-political-progressive with weak evidence, citing his willingness (compulsion?) to sleep with any woman, even fat, poor, and old ones.
Props must be given to Minnesota Opera for scheduling this family-friendly fan favorite, the seats were certainly filled. Hopefully the next generation of opera goers were hooked during this brief run!
It's a sour and tragic ending for an otherwise delightful love story. Moreover, the political subplot of the opera has a vagueness to it that leaves you wondering what its point of view is.
As Thomas Mallon said in the TalkBack after the performance, the suffering of LGBT+ people brought on by witch-hunting politicians in the 50s was unspeakable, and it is a place he hopes we never return to.
Calgary-born director Brenna Corner should be celebrated for her vision in making this production so memorable. Her sense of whimsy permeated everything, from the character relationships to the set design, resulting in an experience where one can sit back and let the drama unfold.
Both Kampe and Golovnin are extraordinary in terms of vocal technique and stamina. Neither voice diminished noticeably by the end of what is an enormously challenging sing. But neither voice translates the overwhelming circumstances of the opera into music that matches its stakes. Points for consistency, but where was the drama?
And yet, something about the confines of the store were perfect for producing the triple-bill of short operas by Jonathan Bailey Holland that graced Room & Board, courtesy of Boston Opera Collaborative, and it led to a very entertaining, and frequently hilarious, night at the opera.
It's not just a historical vaudeville hoot, but it's as different as it could be from the other two on the line-up - the social-media tragedy of Crystal Wood's Grief Circus, and the feminist-Cinderella of If the Shoe Fits.
Graham's performance is gut-wrenchingly sincere and she's as vocally resplendent as ever, even when her voice seems on the verge of breaking with emotion.
The performance I saw was a microcosm of Houston at her best, a perfect example of the glorious, if not uncontroversial, results of numerous talented individuals combining their efforts to create something far bigger than the sum of its parts.