Mozart
Glimmerglass · Cooperstown · July 2003


Francisco's most extreme and controversial show to date. The Vienna version pure. The real title, Il Dissoluto Punito. Zerlina's path from purity to revenge, and Elvira's from revenge to purity, human nature's need for revenge and punishment, its cowardice when confronted to its own instincts, but also its ability to forgive and grow, all came to the fore with Mozart's music in a way that made some spectators intensely uncomfortable but that many hailed as one of the rare times the piece had truly made dramatic sense to them. It was Francisco's first chance to work with designer Carol Bailey.



Production Team
Set: Carol Bailey
Costumes: Carol Bailey
Lighting: Allen Hahn
Conductor: Stewart Robertson

Cast
Palle Knudsen, Kyle Ketelson, Maria Kanyova, Gustav Andreassen, John McVeigh, Amy Burton, Heather Johnson, Jeremy Gaylon


"The surprise was the intense, disturbing 'Don Giovanni', staged as a violent modern drama. Francisco Negrin, here created a hair-raising staging for this co-production with New York City Opera. Updated and performed on a cold, spare architectural set, Mozart's semi-comic opera may never have seemed blacker. Mozart meant his Giovanni, the mythical seducer, to charm us on some level, even as we disapprove. The Danish baritone Palle Knudsen, head shaved, is, instead, a vicious, unrepentant serial rapist. Yet with what fascination we watch his animal cruelty, his tiger-like grace while on the attack, his irresistible self-confidence and control. This is a performance in which there is only Don Giovanni and his victims. The mob gets him in the end, but he goes down fighting, unrepentant. There are few laughs.The good-looking young cast was captivating."

Mark Swed
Los Angeles Times
Aug 7, 2003





"Glimmerglass' Don Giovanni is a remarkable achievement."

John Pitcher
The Democrat and Chronicle
August 3, 2003





"Love and violence were onstage at Glimmerglass Opera on Thursday night even before the overture began. A farewell kiss between two young lovers and only a moment later Don Giovanni descended on his latest pray who was in fact Donna Anna and whose off-stage scream cued the conductor's initial downbeat. But as the evening progressed, the fiery pursuit of justice and revenge gave way to the healing waters of forgiveness evoked by showers of rain. Using the seldom performed Vienna version, director Negrin emphasized the emotional journey of the characters and said, in effect, that their lives can be more than the wasteland that is Don Giovanni."

Joseph Dalton
The Times Union
July 5 2003





"Negrin has Given Glimmerglass a modern staging wich displays a stark and striking visual sense as well as occasional flashing moments of wit. Moments of invention, like Leporello's catalog aria, go well beyond the intent of being vastly amusing, but become memorable and visually arresting. Negrin is a director of not only vigor but genuine imagination."

C. Klaus, J. Vandeboncoeur
The Post-Standard
July 8 2003