Sunday, June 24 , 2018, 7:15 pm | Fair 67º


Opera Santa Barbara Makes an Offer None Dare to Refuse: ‘Don Giovanni’

Mark Walters as Don Giovanni (Elise Bakketun / OSB photo)

Opera Santa Barbara is betting the house limit on their opening show of the 2015–16 season: a new production of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's The Rake Punished, or Don Giovanni, K. 527 (1787) — usually known simply as Don Giovanni — featuring the original Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte.

With stage direction by Kelly Robinson, and an orchestra conducted by Douglas Kinney Frost, the opera stars Mark Walters in the title role, Marcy Stonikas as Donna Anna, Rena Harms as Donna Elvira, Daniel Mobbs as Leporello, Benjamin Brecher as Don Ottavio and Kevin Thompson as Il Commendatore.

The opera will be sung in Italian, with English super-titles. 

The concept of greatest artifact in any artistic genre is a fiction. There are no possible objective standards where taste is involved.

Even in athletics, where statistics rule, the subjective experience of a player's greatness is as completely different for each avid fan in the bleachers as it is for each skeptical reporter in the press box, so, my conviction that Don Giovanni is the greatest opera ever written, while widely shared, can never be quantified or verified.

Nevertheless, one can certainly say that there is no greater opera (in a pretense of fair-mindedness, I might go through the motions of throwing open the lines for nominees of operas that allegedly surpass the "Don," but what would be the point? No one wants to make a horse's ass out of himself).

Although OSB's publicity calls Don Giovanni "This intense opera about seduction, murder and revenge," it is well to remember that Mozart and Da Ponte considered it a comic opera, an opera buffa

And, really, when a man stops in a graveyard to invite the statue of the man he has just murdered to dinner, and the statue shows up to drag the host off to Hell, we are well beyond classical tragedy or even melodrama: we are into the absurd.

Of my five favorite operas, three are Mozart-Da Ponte collaborations, and two are by Alban Berg, but my favorite of all is Don Giovanni.

Don Giovanni plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8, both performances in the Granada Theater.

Single ticket prices run from $29–$204, and they are available from the Granada box office (1214 State Street), by phone at 805.899.2222 and 805.898.3890, or online.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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