‘Don Giovanni’ breaks with convention

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 25, 2014 - 19:47
  • Updated : Feb 25, 2014 - 19:47
Mozart’s opera “Don Giovanni” has been performed here numerous times. But the upcoming production by the Korea National Opera is strikingly different from the previous ones.

Directed by Jung Sun-young, one of Korea’s most promising opera directors, the production will feature a thought-provoking, minimalist set that symbolizes a fundamental question that she says runs through the 18th-century story of libertine Giovanni.

“Giovanni is, from today’s societal point of view, an outlaw. He knows what he wants and does not hesitate to realize it. To me, that is something that most of us can’t do, as we live our lives bound by so many social obligations,” Jung said during a press conference Monday.

“Through this production, I want to raise the question of whether we are living a life that is true to ourselves and whether we are being honest about our feelings.”

Her big idea to do that is to put a giant apple onstage, hung from a crane by a wire rope. The apple symbolizes one’s inner desire and the tension on the rope is the constant struggle between desire and social rules and obligations, she explained.

“Don Giovanni,” the second opera in a trilogy Mozart wrote with Italian librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, revolves around the salacious adventures of the Spanish nobleman and libertine by the same name. Don Giovanni tries to rape Donna Anna and kills her father in his effort to escape justice. In the finale, the elderly man returns from the dead to exact his revenge and Don Giovanni, unrepentant, is sent to the fiery pits of hell.

The production will be staged for five days beginning March 12 at the 1,000-seat CJ Towol Theater of Seoul Arts Center. It will be performed in Italian with Korean subtitles.

The music will be conducted by Marco Zambelli.

“‘Don Giovanni’ has every element that is needed in a good opera ― drama, entertainment and great music. As for music, what you will hear is very rich, colorful and dramatic music. At the same time I want it to be stylistically true to the 18th century,” the conductor said.

Baritones Gong Byung-woo and Cha Jeong-cheol will play Don Giovanni, with sopranos Noh Jung-ae and Hong Ju-young taking to the stage as Donna Anna.

Ticket prices range from 20,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)