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'Don Giovanni' - a Premiere at the National Opera

Monday, 18 February 2013 , ora 7.45
Almost a decade after the last premiere of the Opera Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, on Sunday the National Opera in Bucharest showcased the new staging of this opera performance directed by Anda Tabacaru Hogea and coreographed by Malina Andrei.

Under the baton of conductor Vlad Conta, who described Don Giovanni as "an opera about seduction, about the ethics and aesthetics, about the force of the will and beauty", the artists of the Bucharest National Opera enjoyed the occasion of performing this difficult and overwhelming musical compositon by Mozart. The protagonist was the young baritone Daniel Pop, soprano Iulia Isaev was Donna Anna, tenor Augustin Hotea - Don Ottavio, soprano Crina Zancu played the part of Donna Elvira, Leporello was played by Cătălin Țoropoc, the bass Horia Sandu was cast in the role of the Commendatore, mezzo-soprano Maria Jinga gave life to the part of Zerlina, and bass Iustinian Zetea was Masetto. We could also watch the performance of the ballerinas Megumi Koshi, Shino Ota and Miki Iwafuchi.

What this premiere meant to the protagonists and how they felt on stage, we found out in the end of the performance from the soprano Iulia Isaev, tenor Augustin Hotea and bass Iustinian Zetea:

"It was a very hard working week, but it appears to have been crowned with success and the final result matters. It seems that the audience appreciated our work and this is the most important thing to us." (Iulia Isaev)

"It was a special evening, a modern and interesting production full of symbols. It was a beautiful performance; we enjoyed it." (Augustin Hotea)

The modern directing elements and the use of a young voice in the cast were the facts that had as a result the diverse opinions of the audience and musical critics. Here are some of them:

Music critic Anca Florea: "Looking on the whole picture, it is obvious that bringing Don Giovanni back into the opera repertoire is a laudable thing especially that Mozart had been excluded from it for a while. The problem is that Mozart is sung in a certain way and you do not need only a stylistic understanding, but also resistance and beside the musical aspect, there is also the staging that needs to be developed according to Mozart's view. The fact that the characters climb down from the stage in the audience area is a common element around the world and it is a good choice when you can connect it to the performance somehow. They managed to outline the characters in their general features, they sometimes succeeded; it is good that most of them are young performers who have strong voices, some of which are very promising, but not the voice of Don Giovanni who is a very young bass. Of course that he spared himself, he sang very carefully, so that he could carry on until the end of the performance. He has talent, he has potential and I really do not know why they ventured to simply drag him into such a part."

Anca Poștea, consultant management: "The premiere seemed a success to me. I am proud that they managed to do such a high performance and I am proud of the talented artists who sang. I thought it was a success from all the points of view, directing and light design including. The orchestra was very good and the ballet seemed interesting. Out of the protagonists, I myself liked Maria Jinga very much, I liked Iulia Isaev a lot and I highly appreciated the part of Crina Zancu. The Commendatore was special, as well - Horia Sandu and Masetto sang extraordinarily, they had an extraordinary stage presence and a lot of charm. Don Giovanni was a very good part, only that I expected him to have a stronger voice, but of course that I could notice his trained talent. Don Ottavio - Augustin Hotea proved his well-trained talent, as well."

Violeta Voștinar, dentist: "It was a very beautiful performance, although modern and I enjoyed it a lot. Wonderful voices, I was happy to see a lot of young people. Superbly."

The next performance of Don Giovanni on the stage of the Bucharest National Opera will take place next Sunday, 24th February, with another cast and the protagonist will be baritone Eugen Secobeanu.

Andreea Chiselev
Translated by Iulia Florescu and Elena Daniela Radu
MTTLC, Bucharest University