Don Giovanni • The Juilliard School • April 26 2019

A lean, minimal and detailed production directed by Emma Griffin, proving that even a complex opera such as Don Giovanni, stuffy and dusty as it is across the street, at the Met, can be presented to great effect with little means, an actual viewpoint, and a thorough rehearsal process. A vibrant young cast, the singers for the most part secure in their roles, and some interesting, highly specific choices in the visuals, such as Masetto’s ill-fitting wedding suit, labels still attached, implying that he intends to return it. The ending had a surprise for those who do not know Robert Carsten’s production in which he did something similar, Don Giovanni comes back from the dead as a ghost, looking at the cast and, here, pulling off Donna Anna, presumably to follow him into hell, a bit jarring and surpassingly moralistic, as I read it, implying that she had lied and had in fact willingly allowed him to seduce her. I recognized some of the singers as Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Finalists, and it was nice to see them again in this context. Meghan Kasanders (donna Anna) had a winning warmth and voice that reminded me of the young Renée Fleming. Jessica Niles as Zerlina had an endearing girlish vulnerability to her, and Hubert Zapior as Don Giovanni played his role with gusto, including the moment where he wolfed down a roast chicken..