Nov 5, 2009


I was starting to write a post today when my handler Lisa literally pushed me aside. With the pent-up angst that could only belong to a former English major, she declared, "I'm writing the post today; I've been doing some thinking." (Translation: I don't have enough minutiae in my life to analyze, so I'm going to extend it Don Giovanni.) I'm indulging her, so here ya go:

Don Giovanni is One Bad Dude. That much is clear. But unlike other Bad Dudes central to a story (i.e. Don Draper of Mad Men), the opera Don Giovanni doesn't ask us to delve into why he is so bad. It's not because his parents abandoned him or a love lost permanently scarred his heart. No, he is just bad--and he has no compunction whatsoever about it.

This opera is not about Don Giovanni. It is about the characters and world around him. Director John Hoomes meant for the production to offer up Don Giovanni as a mirror to those around him. His blatant sexuality serves to liberate the other characters' true feelings.

I feel the production challenges us to consider the validity of the superficial moral parable. Is he dragged to hell because he will not repent his sins? Or does his descent represent the other characters' inability to accept the true feelings Don Giovanni elicits from them, and they must bury him in defense?

We can add to our interpretation(s) by considering the context in which Don Giovanni was written. Mozart wrote the opera during the Enlightenment, which advanced the rejection of convention and church, valuing the primacy of the individual. Don Giovanni stands up for himself, but society cannot handle it.

Don Giovanni opens the door not just to hell but to our minds.

Ok, that's enough out of her. But some interesting points to ponder, I admit. Do some deconstructing of your own--we've got one more performance this Saturday night.

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