In March 2019, Curtis Opera Theatre presented one of the most well-known and frequently performed operas in the canon, Mozart's Don Giovanni.
R. B. Schlather's production grappled with the darkest aspects of Giovanni's personality, shining an uncomfortable light on his predatory behavior.
A tableau during the overture set the stage for the production; Maxim Alexander Kruger appeared silently at one of the many pianos that formed the set. Photo: Tobin Del Cuore
In the opening scene, Don Giovanni kills the Commendatore (Vartan Gabrielian) in a violent encounter, but escapes without anyone being certain of his identity. The Commendatore's daughter, Donna Anna (Tiffany Townsend), is devastated, and her fiance Don Ottavio (Aaron Crouch) vows to find the killer and bring him to justice. Photo: William Brown
Donna Elvira (Sophia Hunt) is one of several victims of Don Giovanni's selfish exploits; before the events of the opera, Giovanni had married Elvira, then abandoned her. Traumatized by her experience, she returns to confront him. Photo: Tobin Del Cuore
Not realizing that Giovanni is the Commendatore's killer, Anna (Tiffany Townsend) and Ottavio (Aaron Crouch) approach him for help as they mourn the Commendatore's death. Photo: Tobin Del Cuore
Baritone Dennis Chmelensky starred in the title role as the unrepentant Don Giovanni. Photo: William Brown
Giovanni continues to wreak havoc in the lives of the opera’s characters, as he attempts to seduce the young peasant Zerlina (Lindsey Reynolds). Her fiance Masetto (Charles Buttigieg) is humiliated when Zerlina appears enthralled by Giovanni. Donna Anna witnesses the scene, and suddenly realizes that Giovanni is the man she saw murder her father. Photo: William Brown
Later, at a party, Giovanni assaults Zerlina, but again escapes any consequences by pinning the blame on his servant, Leporello (Adam Kiss). Despite this, Leporello agrees to stay on as Giovanni's servant for an increase in pay. Photo: William Brown
In the second act, Giovanni forces Leporello (Adam Kiss) to assume his master’s identity again, this time in a ploy to humiliate Donna Elvira. Leporello is accosted by Zerlina (Lindsey Reynolds), as well as Giovanni's other victims—Ottavio, Anna, and Masetto—who believe they have caught the villain who has harmed each of them. Photo: William Brown
Donna Anna (Tiffany Townsend) is distraught that her father's killer has again escaped justice, and Don Ottavio redoubles his pledge to find Giovanni and hold him accountable. Photo: Tobin Del Cuore
In the wake of these events, Elvira (Sophia Hunt) is confused—caught between her desire for Giovanni (Dennis Chmelensky) and her condemnation of his actions. Photo: Tobin Del Cuore
As his victims close in on Giovanni, a statue of the Commendatore (Vartan Gabrielian) comes to life, and the ever-confident Giovanni (Dennis Chmelensky) audaciously invites him to a dinner party. The Commendatore accepts—but he is not interested in food and drink. Instead, he has come to pass judgment on Giovanni. Photo: Tobin Del Cuore
As the opera draws to a close, the Commendatore drags Giovanni (Dennis Chmelensky) into the realm of the dead, and Giovanni finally faces punishment for all the harm he has caused in life. Photo: William Brown
Curtis alumna Karina Canellakis (Violin '04), a favorite guest conductor among Curtis students, returned to lead the production. Here she presides over a dress rehearsal. Photo: William Brown