Oct 19, 2009


At the Meet the Cast event Saturday, I found out tons about our Don Giovanni cast (e.g. one of our singers, without fail, eats a tuna fish sandwich on whole wheat bread along with a banana before every performance.)

Robert Gierlach, our Don Giovanni, has played the role about 85 times, but he's also played his fair share of Leporellos. Matthew Burns, our Leporello, has likewise sung both roles.

Matthew mentioned a New York Times article that compared the two bass roles. So, of course, I looked it up first thing this morning. It asks the question 'which is the better role?'

There's definitely some psychological probing going on. Could Leporello just be Giovanni's alter ego--the manifestation of what Giovanni could be if his id didn't get in the way so much?

“Don Giovanni isn’t Casanova but a superman,” singer Marco Vinco says. “He exists on a different plane from ordinary people. His element is mystery. He lives to conquer God, feeling neither love nor pity nor guilt. Leporello is exactly the opposite: a simpleton, a nice guy who feels all the human feelings.”

Director Peter Sellars gives his take: “In the end the transformation of Leporello is what the opera is about. Giovanni is static. He never learns a thing. Leporello goes through the whole range of emotions Giovanni is cut off from. He’s a feeling, thinking person.”

Ok, so maybe the article doesn't answer the question it poses, but it does offer great insights into these characters. One thing is clear about the opera: Leporello and Don Giovanni cannot exist without each other.

No comments: