Northwest NEWS

January 25, 1999


'Don Giovanni' has dramatic intensity

entertainment by Deborah Stone

   Mozart's Don Giovanni, the mythic and ageless opera, gets an imaginative and fresh staging at the Seattle Opera House. Presented in a period production with lush costumes and inventive sets, Don Giovanni is a fascinating tale of seduction, betrayal, and revenge involving complex characters in real situations.

   Heading the talented cast is accomplished Welsh baritone Jason Howard as Giovanni, a charming knave who woos women of all ages, shapes, and classes, only to discard them at his whim. Howard plays the Don with great appeal, fascinating audiences, yet horrifying them with his lack of principles and unwillingness to repent for his behavior.

   Joining him are eloquent sopranos Judith Raddue as Donna Anna and Christine Goerke as Donna Elvira. Bass singer Kevin Langan as Leporello does a humorous portrayal of Giovanni's abused manservant, practically stealing the show with his comic antics.

   Seattle Opera's production is intensely dramatic and spooky. Gargoyle demons hang above the stage and continue to lurk in corners of the set as the action continues to escalate. They appear to be waiting for the soul of Giovanni, and in the end they even search the audience, hoping to find other sinners for their fiery pits.

   It is the music that carries this opera and delights the ear with its amazing arias and ability to bring the characters to life. Conductor Klaus Donath, in his Seattle Opera debut, interprets Mozart's beautiful score with passion and intensity.

   Don Giovanni runs through Jan. 30. For ticket information, call 206-389-7676.