UPDATE, MAY 28, 2020
Reimagining BOF's Production of Don Giovanni
In response to ongoing concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Berkshire Opera Festival (BOF) has reevaluated and reimagined the programming originally slated for our upcoming 2020 summer season. BOF has approached these decisions with our usual spirit of resilience and optimism for the future, striving to maintain our high artistic standards for performances and programming in alternative ways that reduce health risks to our performers, staff, and audiences according to the public safety guidelines developed by the State of Massachusetts.
BOF has reimagined how we will proceed with our mainstage opera - Mozart’s Don Giovanni - currently scheduled for August 22, 25, and 28 at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA. Don Giovanni will now be presented in concert as a semi-staged performance, with no sets or costumes, which embraces social-distancing measures for performers and audiences alike.
BOF is working carefully with staff and leadership at the Colonial Theatre to develop detailed safety protocols to protect all individuals on- and off-stage that are in alignment with the State of Massachusetts’s official Reopening Plan for Phase 3 venues. Any further modifications that might be deemed necessary to either the performance or audience-going experience will be conveyed to patrons well in advance.
BOF Co-Founders Jonathon Loy and Brian Garman look forward to presenting this semi-staged production of Don Giovanni with full orchestra and chorus to provide the same high-quality artistic experience that BOF patrons have come to expect.
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 1:00pm
Tuesday, August 25, 2020 at 7:30pm
Friday, August 28, 2020 at 7:30pm
A NOTE ABOUT OUR NEW PROGRAMMING
Considering that the meaning of the term "semi-staged" can vary, for the purposes of this production, there will be no costumes or scenic elements. Semi-staged simply refers to using the limited space available for the cast to dramatically interact according to the required social distancing standards.
Clearing the stage of scenery will allow BOF to bring the instrumentalists out of the orchestra pit and onto the stage with the cast, and allow all the performers to adhere to social distancing. This new format also places a greater emphasis on the opera's musical score than that of a traditional, fully-staged opera.
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The Creative Team
A predator. A charming aristocrat. A murderer. A womanizer whose sexual conquests number into the thousands. Don Giovanni is the original antihero and he will stop at nothing to satisfy his lust, but his crimes demand the ultimate punishment. Mozart and librettist Lorenzo da Ponte blend comedy, tragedy, and the supernatural to thrilling effect in this opera, one of the greatest ever composed.
Don Giovanni has a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte.
The action takes place in Seville.
One night, the servant Leporello is complaining about his master’s ingratitude toward him (Notte e giorno faticar). The nobleman in question, Don Giovanni, has broken into the Commendatore’s house in order to take advantage of his daughter, Donna Anna. When she calls for help and tries to prevent the masked Giovanni from escaping, the Commendatore intervenes, but Giovanni kills him and disappears with Leporello. Anna returns with her fiancé, Don Ottavio, but they are too late. She laments the death of her father and makes Ottavio swear to avenge him (Duet: Fuggi, crudele, fuggi!).
Leporello scolds Giovanni for his behavior, but is interrupted by the entrance of a woman distractedly searching for the man who deceived her (Ah chi mi dice mai). Giovanni tries to console her, but to his surprise, she turns out to be Donna Elvira, whom he earlier seduced and abandoned. Giovanni slips away, leaving Leporello to explain his actions to Elvira. Leporello takes this opportunity to reveal Giovanni’s true nature to Elvira by listing all of his sexual conquests (Madamina, il catalogo è questo). Elvira is furious and demands vengeance.
Later, peasants are celebrating the marriage of Zerlina and Masetto (Chorus: Giovinette che fate all’amore). Giovanni decides to seduce the young bride. Leporello has joined him and gets the groom and the guests out of the way by inviting them to a banquet. Masetto reluctantly agrees to leave (Ho capito, signor sì). Giovanni invites Zerlina to his mansion, promising to marry her (Duet: Là ci darem la mano). Just when she is ready to accept, Elvira appears. She exposes Giovanni’s lies and takes Zerlina away (Ah fuggi il traditor). Giovanni now meets Anna and Ottavio. Anna does not recognize him, and is requesting his help in finding her father’s murderer when Elvira appears and begins her accusations again (Quartet: Non ti fidar, o misera). Giovanni claims Elvira is crazy and quickly takes her away. Only now does Anna recognize his voice, and identifies him as the man who killed her father. She tells the full story of her assault to Ottavio, and again demands that he exact vengeance (Or sai chi l’onore). Ottavio wonders how to restore her peace of mind (Dalla sua pace). Giovanni meets up with Leporello and tells him how Zerlina and Elvira thwarted his plans. He orders Leporello to continue with the festivities so he can make new romantic conquests (Fin ch’han dal vino).
Zerlina is trying to assuage Masetto’s jealousy outside of Giovanni’s mansion (Batti, batti, o bel Masetto). Masetto hides in an attempt to observe Giovanni (Finale: Presto presto pria ch’ei venga) but he is soon discovered, and Giovanni invites the couple to return to the party. Anna, Elvira, and Ottavio now appear wearing masks and praying for vengeance. Leporello does not recognize them, and invites them inside to the ball.
During the dancing, Leporello distracts Masetto while Giovanni abducts Zerlina. Hearing her cries, the masked guests rush to her aid and reveal their identity. Caught red-handed, Giovanni tries to lay the blame on Leporello, but no one is convinced and he runs off.
Feeling that life with Giovanni has become too dangerous, Leporello announces that he wants to leave his master’s service (Duet: Eh via buffone), but his mind is changed by an offer of more money. Giovanni outlines his plan to seduce Elvira’s maid – the two men will exchange clothing and Giovanni will lure his former mistress out of her house by promising to repent. Elvira, now believing she is back in favor with her former lover, goes off with the disguised Leporello, leaving the way open for Giovanni (Trio: Ah taci, ingiusto core). He begins a serenade (Deh vieni alla finestra), but is soon interrupted by Masetto and a group of armed peasants. Disguising his voice as Leporello’s, Giovanni sends the peasants off in the wrong direction (Metà di voi qua vadano), and beats Masetto once they are alone. After this, Zerlina appears and comforts her fiancé (Vedrai, carino).
Meanwhile, Elvira and Leporello (still in disguise) encounter Anna and Ottavio. Leporello tries to escape, but is prevented from doing so by the arrival of Zerlina and Masetto (Sextet: Sola sola in buio loco). They all believe they have finally captured Giovanni, but again Elvira tries to save him. In mortal danger, Leporello throws off his disguise and finally succeeds in running away. Convinced of Giovanni’s guilt, Ottavio decides to go to the authorities. Zerlina has succeeded in recapturing Leporello, whom she ties to a chair and threatens to torture (Duet: Per queste tue manine). He escapes once more when she goes to look for Masetto. Masetto tells Zerlina of further bad conduct on Giovanni’s part, and they leave to tell Ottavio. Elvira, however, still finds herself torn between conflicting feelings for Giovanni (Mi tradì, quell’alma ingrata).
Leporello and Giovanni meet in a cemetery to change into their own clothes. They tell each other of their adventures when a voice from beyond the grave commands them to leave the dead in peace. Seeking to find the source of the voice, Giovanni discovers the Commendatore’s tomb, adorned with his statue and an inscription declaring that the dead man awaits vengeance. He mockingly orders the terrified Leporello to invite the statue to dinner (Duet: O statua gentilissima). With a nod of the head, the statue accepts.
Ottavio offers to marry Anna the very next day. She asks him to wait until more time has passed since her father’s death, and defends herself when he accuses her of being cruel (Non mi dir, bell’idol mio).
Giovanni prepares to eat dinner at his mansion, served by Leporello (Finale: Già la mensa è preparata). Elvira bursts in, begging him one last time to change his ways. She tries to leave when he refuses, but then utters a terrified scream. Leporello runs to find out what frightened her, but he too cries out in horror. He informs his master that the statue of the Commendatore has arrived for dinner. Giovanni opens the door for his guest, who in turn demands Giovanni’s immediate repentance. Giovanni steadfastly refuses and is dragged down into hell. Anna, Elvira, Ottavio, Zerlina, and Masetto enter, still in search of Giovanni (Epilogue: Ah dove è il perfido). After listening to Leporello’s account of the evening’s events, Anna asks Ottavio to respect a year of mourning before they celebrate their wedding. Elvira decides to spent the rest of her life in a convent, Zerlina and Masetto will go home to dinner, and Leporello will head off to the inn to search for a new master. Together, they all declare the moral of the story – “Such is the end of the evildoer; a sinner always receives the death he deserves.”
This program is supported in part by The Feigenbaum Foundation, as well as a grant from the Pittsfield Local Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.