Preview | GP at the Met: Don Giovanni - About the Opera

Principal Conductor Fabio Luisi leads his first Met performances of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in a new production directed by Tony Award winner Michael Grandage in his Met debut, on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances at the Met Sunday, February 26 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings). In New York, THIRTEEN will air the program Thursday, February 23 at 9 p.m., with an encore presentation Sunday, February 26 at 12:30 p.m.

The program was originally seen live in movie theaters on October 29, 2011 as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 1700 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 54 countries around the world.

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers. For nearly 50 years, WNET has been producing and broadcasting national and local arts programming to the New York community.

The classic tale of lust, heartbreak, and revenge stars charismatic Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien in his first-ever Met performances of the notorious title character. For the first time with Don Giovanni at the Met, Luisi conducts the performance from a cembalo in the orchestra pit.

Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka and German soprano Mojca Erdmann make their Met debuts as two of Giovanni’s female conquests, Donna Anna and Zerlina, opposite distinguished Mozartean Barbara Frittoli as the fiery Donna Elvira. Tenor Ramón Vargas sings the role of Donna Anna’s fiancé, the nobleman Don Ottavio, and bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni is Giovanni’s hapless manservant Leporello. Joshua Bloom sings the shepherd Masetto and Štefan Kocán is the vengeful Commendatore.

Grandage, the longtime artistic director of London’s Donmar Warehouse, won a 2010 Tony Award for directing John Logan’s drama Red. Last season, he directed new productions of Billy Budd at Glyndebourne and Madama Butterfly at Houston Grand Opera. His other Broadway credits include Peter Morgan’s docudrama Frost/Nixon, a 2009 staging of Hamlet starring Jude Law, and an upcoming revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita in spring 2012.

Grandage’s design team includes his longtime collaborator Christopher Oram (sets and costumes), also a recent Tony Award winner for Red; lighting designer Paule Constable, who also designed this season’s Anna Bolena and Satyagraha; and choreographer Ben Wright, whose credits include numerous operas and musicals in England and Scotland. Oram and Wright make their Met debuts with this production.

Luisi, who was elevated to the position of Principal Conductor in September, led performances of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro in the Met’s 2009-10 season and has a Met repertory that includes critically acclaimed performances of Verdi’s Don Carlo, Rigoletto, and Simon Boccanegra; Puccini’s La Bohème, Tosca, and Turandot; Richard Strauss’s Die Ägyptische Helena (the 2007 new production premiere), Elektra, and Ariadne auf Naxos; Berg’s Lulu; and Wagner’s Das Rheingold. He is also conducting Wagner’s Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, Massenet’s Manon, as well as a revival of Verdi’s La Traviata, all coming up on Great Performances at the Met.

Kwiecien has sung Don Giovanni at numerous international opera houses, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Munich State Opera; San Francisco Opera; Santa Fe Opera; and Warsaw Opera, earning praise for his accomplished vocalism and seductive interpretation. Don Giovanni is his fourth leading role in a new production at the Met, following his performances as Dr. Malatesta in Don Pasquale (2006), and Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor (2007), all seen on Great Performances at the Met, as well as Escamillo in Carmen (2009).

Rebeka sang the role of Donna Anna last season at the Deutsche Oper Berlin under the baton of Roberto Abbado. Fellow debuting artist Erdmann sang Zerlina at the 2011 Baden-Baden Festival in a production conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Frittoli last sang Donna Elvira at the Met in the 2008-09 season.

Vargas makes his Met role debut as Don Ottavio, a role he last performed in Covent Garden’s 2008-09 season. Bloom made his Met debut as Masetto in the 2008-09 season. Slovakian bass Kocán will make his Met role debut as the Commendatore.

Renée Fleming hosts. Barbara Willis Sweete directs the telecast.

Great Performances is funded by Vivian Milstein, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and Annaliese Soros. Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®.

For the Met, Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers, and Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.