Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Curtain Up on a New Season – Part I

The curtain went up on our new season at the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday afternoon.  It was a good news/bad news sort of day. 




It’s always good news to start the season with Mozart, particularly one of my favorite Mozart operas, Don Giovanni (a/k/a the notorious love ‘em and leave ‘em Don Juan). 



The opera is in Italian and takes place in Spain.  As the curtain opens, the masked Don has slipped into Donna Anna’s bedroom in the dark of night to “have his way with her,” which he does not manage to do.  This feisty lady fights him off and, when he tries to flee, she pursues him into the street screaming (or rather singing very loudly) for help. 
 

 

Her father, the Commendatore, comes to her assistance, and in the ensuing duel, Don Giovanni kills him.  Aided by his faithful servant, Leporello, the Don flees.  Donna Anna discovers the lifeless body of her father, swears vengeance, and for the rest of the opera she and her fiancé chase the Don around trying to exact their revenge. 



 


No sooner has the Don made his escape from Donna Anna, than he runs into an old girlfriend, Donna Elvira, with whom he did have his way.  After swearing eternal love and promising to marry her, he had vanished, and she’s been hunting him down ever since.  He manages to charm poor Donna Elvira yet again and, when her back is turned --- you guessed it --- he does his vanishing act once more.  This guy should have an act in Vegas!! 

It’s left to the Don’s servant, Leporello, to set the weeping Donna Elvira straight about his Master’s philosophy toward the fair sex.  Don Giovanni loves women so much that to be faithful to only one would make him unfaithful to all the rest.  To illustrate his point, Leporello pulls out a catalog in which he has noted every one of his Master’s conquests all over the world.  The tally in Spain alone is over 1,000.  Actually, I’ve always been a bit miffed that the total in France is only 64 – but I digress. 

Eventually, the jilted Donna Elvira teams up with the wronged Donna Anna and her fiancé in pursuit of the lecherous Don.  They manage to foil his attempts to seduce a pretty young village girl, Zerlina, on, of all days, her wedding day.  

After beating a hasty retreat from the troublesome trio and the wrath of the wedding guests, the Don and Leporello find themselves in a cemetery, where a great stone statue of the Commendatore marks his grave.  Don Giovanni cavalierly invites the Statue of the man he killed to dinner, and, to Leporello’s horror, the Statue accepts.  Guess who’s coming to dinner? 

 






Indeed, the Statute does show up for dinner, telling the Don that he has not come to dine but to offer him one last chance to repent.  The defiant Don refuses and the Statute drags him down to hell. 

Donna Anna has had her revenge and agrees to set a wedding date, after a suitable grieving period.  Donna Elvira decides to enter the convent.  Unlike Donna Anna, her honor, you will recall, has been compromised, so what’s a dishonored girl to do?  Take the veil.  And Leporello is off to find a new master, who doesn’t invite dead men to dinner. 

It all ends happily, except of course for Don Giovanni, although…..I wouldn’t be too surprised if he’s not enjoying the fruits of his bad boy behavior even now with some delectable bad girls.  Hell must be full of them.   It's no secret that even good girls have a soft spot in their hearts for bad boys.  Just ask Donna Elvira. 

Here are some highlights, including the fiery ending, you might enjoy. 




Next time, we’ll continue with my good news/bad news day at the Met. 



11 comments:

  1. Dear M-T,

    Those who don't know the story-line will appreciate your synopsis, but you have left us with a cliffhanger. Clever girl. I can't wait to hear more!

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    1. Dear Linda,

      I did, indeed, learn a thing or two from the master, Charles Dickens, about cliffhangers. His early novels were published in a magazine in serial form, each installment about 30-32 pages, at the end of which was a cliffhanger/hook to make sure that his readers would buy the next installment. Hope you'll tune in for Part II.

      Always enjoy your comments, my dear friend. Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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  2. What wonderful photos, Marie-Thérèse! I became friends with 2 people in NYC, the wife retired as a school teacher. They love opera to such an extent that they bought a studio apartment across the street from the Met and spend the opera season in NYC, then the rest of the year in their home state where they take care of a house. They are the definition of fans, right? The husband adores New York. The wife enjoys her time here, but I believe wanted to please her husband on this matter.

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    Replies
    1. I can't take credit for the photos. Most were from the Met. Your friends sound like my kind of people. I can truly empathize. I would LOVE to have a studio apartment across from the Met. What a dream!! The closest we've come is a time share near Carnegie Hall for that very purpose. My husband and I are both crazy about New York.

      Would love to meet you and your friends some day in New York.

      Cheers, M-T

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    2. Well, you let know when you come. What fun!

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  3. I have not seen a Don Giovanni, one of my favourites, for quite a while.

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    Replies
    1. I think it's Mozart's best opera, don't you? It isn't done often enough for us. Looks like you've got some interesting things coming up at Royal Opera this year. Are you planning on attending any of them? We've been tempted to pop over.

      Thanks for stopping by, Josephine.

      Cheers, M-T

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  4. Dearest Marie-Thérèse,
    No doubt you did enjoy this very first performance tremendously and I sure would have too.
    Great story with it, knowing it makes all the difference in following the drama along.
    The ending was great, one can only admire those that stage all this!
    Sending you hugs,
    Mariette

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    Replies
    1. It's a great way to start the season. The Met is capable of quite amazing effects on stage. Of course, it really is all about the music, and Mozart's music is just sublime.

      Hugs to you, too, ma chère amie,

      Cheers, M-T

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  5. I know you are in your element, there at the Met. Enjoy the season; it sounds just wonderful. And thank you for the synopsis. Maybe I'll be able to see it someday!

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    1. I highly recommend this opera, Deborah. It was my husband's second opera, and it sealed the deal, so to speak. He was absolutely hooked. If you get the chance to see it, absolutely do so. You won't regret it.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Cheers, M-T

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