by Kate Marie Phillips
“Curtain Up” is a weekly performing arts review column exploring the vast and dynamic theater world in Atlanta.
Opera, ladies and gentleman, is in Atlanta’s springtime air. Performed by the Atlanta Opera Orchestra and Chorus, Don Giovanni, a story of conflict between a promiscuous nobleman and his victimized women has made its way to the stage once again. By renowned classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in collaboration with Lorenzo Da Ponte, Don Giovanni intertwines entertaining Italian musical drama with comedic vocal libretto in a two-act show. It is a successful addition to the Cobb Energy Centre’s performance stage — in fact, back in its Prague premier in the late 18th century, it was part of Mozart’s groundbreaking series of comic operas. Subsequently, Don Giovanni and Mozart have dominated the scene into the 21st century, with this opera being the seventh most performed in the world as cited by Operabase.
But, why should you see it? After witnessing the performance, my question reversed to: “why wouldn’t you?” Throughout the performance, bits of everything I have thus far learned at SCAD was apparent in Don Giovanni, from the use of formal and informal elements in the costume and set design, key parts of our studies in foundations courses, to the aesthetics and concepts in the combined visuals and sound which are focuses developed further in major courses. For example, the skills necessary for the development of the set alone are part of the curriculum in interior design, painting, sculpture, and architecture. The costumes and props sprung from designers with backgrounds in accessory design, art history, and fashion. And for publicity, video production, graphic design, advertising, sound design, and photography were necessary to document the performance and hook the crowds.
The story strikes similar chords with much of the drama we witness in real life, especially in school, so the story is relatable beyond the technicalities of our school studies. The humor in the tale comes from the variation from character to character in their disposition and their interpretation of gender roles from both sides of the fence. The storyline is easy to follow, due to the display of supertitles above the action, and noticeable changes in vocal intonations despite the language barrier. This text display also makes it accessible to the hearing impaired.
Even sitting at the very back, top row, I was able to hear every sound on stage due to the amazing acoustics of the theatre. The main con of the play would be the fact that, just like any other opera, the singers’ notes are drawn for such stretches that the performance is about three hours in length. To accommodate this, an intermission is provided with tasty concessions and clean restrooms available at that time.
To ensure a positive experience travelling to the Centre, if departing from the SCAD area, avoid the stop and go of Collier and opt to take Deering west, turn left on Northside to reach the entrance for I-75, or take Spring Street to 17th, take a right and follow Northside to that same exit.
This performance definitely is a good choice of relief from your coursework. Take an afternoon to grab a bite beforehand and, for only about $20, you can experience a night full of laughs at Don Giovanni. Performances will continue from Friday May 4 to the finale on Sunday May 6.