Don Giovanni


MINNESOTA OPERA (1988) | VANCOUVER OPERA  (1994) | CINCINNATI OPERA (1998, 2004, 2013) |  BALTIMORE OPERA (2005) | PORTLAND OPERA & AUSTIN LYRIC OPERA (2006) |  OPERA PHILADELPHIA (2014)

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DON GIOVANNI by W.A. Mozart
Conductor: Donath/Zhang
Cast: Mattei/Rhodes, Flanigan/Deshorties, Goerke/Miller, Piper/Mathey, Ely/Goerz, Comeaux/Fox
Production: N. Muni (scenery), D. Burdick (clothes), T. C. Hase (lighting), J. Geier (hair/make-up)
photos courtesy of Philip Groshong

“So much has been written about Mozart’s Don Giovanni that a conductor or director risks much in even attempting it. The Minnesota Opera opened its season with [it] conducted by Hugh Wolff and directed by Nicholas Muni, this was a production that acknowledged both the serious and the playful sides of the score and libretto. Reality and imagination constantly mingled, sometimes putting the audience off balance but constantly provoking it to enter more deeply into the opera. Muni held the balance between the lighter and darker sides, avoiding the usual opera clichés. Given the problems of staging the Don’s descent into hell for an audience used to cinematic realism, he did an imaginative job.”
Michael Fleming, St. Paul Pioneer Dispatch (October, 1988)

“Nicholas Muni, who staged the new production, avoids conspiracy theories. In broadest outline, his production is more conventional than (Wesley) Balk’s but it is perhaps even more striking, more carefully detailed—both funnier and more chilling. Muni, who staged last year’s attractive Rusalka avoids clichés at every turn. The Don’s Champagne aria, usually an exercise in forced high spirits—and usually a big yawn—is here full of menace and calculation.”
- Michael Anthony, Minneapolis Star Tribune (October, 1988)

“In Minnesota Opera’s postmodern ‘Don Giovanni’, Goya met Mozart. Haunted by images of the composer’s Spanish contemporary, Nicholas Muni’s stylish, discerning production gave us a sequence of psychological and moral encounters, spawned in ‘the sleep of Reason’ by the extravagant caprichos of those in love. So much meat, and only four performances?”
Rodney Shewan, Opera Canada (December, 1988)

“Sold-out houses and enthusiastic audiences greeted striking new productions of Don Giovanni and The Turn of the Screw. Nicholas Muni, now in his second full season as artistic director, has revitalized Cincinnati Opera, energizing audiences and producing handsome productions with fine dramatic sensibilities while maintaining Cincinnati’s tradition of musical excellence. Muni staged and designed Don Giovanni using a bare black floor outlined with a gold frame, with three huge paintings after Goya and sliding mirror-paneled walls to vary the playing area. Muni’s clever dramatic touches worked well.”
- Charles Parsons, Opera News (September, 1999)

“Nicholas Muni’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni is both darkly provocative and complex. Opening the summer festival season, it has the Muni look: spare black backdrops and a steeply raked stage; a large mirror; three suspended Goya paintings. The production was animatedly staged by Mr. Muni, beginning his third season as Artistic Director.”
Janelle Gelfand, The Cincinnati Enquirer (June, 1999)

“The Don is helped along his nocturnal maneuvers, not just by his accustomed factotum, Leporello, but by director (and set designer) Nicholas Muni, whose concept runs at least part of the way toward the gonadal that many think Mozart and his librettist, da Ponte, really had foremost in mind. Director Muni wisely opted for the non-traditional, unafraid to push over operatic sacred cows.”
Roger Grooms, Everybody’s News (June, 1999)

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