Monaco Revue   
Don Giovanni at the Monte Carlo Opera

The curtain rises tonight (Feb 22) on the first-ever performance of Don Giovanni at the Salle Garnier.

The production of Mozart's acclaimed handling of the legend of Don Juan is not an import but entirely a creation of the Monte Carlo Opera.

“Everything has been chosen by our new director Jean-Louis Grinda, who is doing the stage direction as well,” says Stéphane Bouteloup, who heads communications at the opera. “He has assembled a cast of singers he loves... He wanted the best team to do something special for the Monte Carlo Opera.”

That team includes Rudy Sabounghi, set and costume designer,
who bathes the stage in hot pastels, and lighting designer Laurent Castaingt, whose dark Seville forebodes Don Giovanni's demise.

There's no mystery as to why this comic opera about the punishment of an unrepentant rake has been enormously popular since it was first staged in Prague in 1787, Bouteloup says.

“The role of Don Giovanni symbolises everything you can imagine about passion, lust, desire, sex – that's very much the center of his thoughts – and also a certain attitude towards the idea of God, of good and evil, and duty, and what you're expected to do in your life, and Don Giovanni does exactly the contrary.”

The popularity of the work poses a challenge for stage directors, such as Grinda, who know their audiences arrive in the theater with memories of previous productions in their minds, Bouteloup says.

“What [Grinda] is certainly hoping is that he will convince the audience that his ideas are putting a very interesting light on what they already know and, maybe, to surprise people from what their first idea was.”

It's not just the Monte Carlo audience that will get the opportunity to make this judgment.

“The production of Don Giovanni from the Monte Carlo Opera is going to's going to be played next year at the Dublin Opera,” Bouteloup says. “It's a very good way to have the name of Monte Carlo travel around the world.”

Monaco's sovereign Prince Albert II, under whose patronage the Monte Carlo Opera falls, is expected to attend tonight's gala performance of Don Giovanni.

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