Mozart’s Don Giovanni to hit iconic Mandela Stage at Joburg Theatre celebrating 60 years

By CityLife Arts Writer

In continuation of 60 years’ celebration of connecting stars in the City of Gold, Joburg Theatre presents Mozart’s Don Giovanni on the iconic Mandela Stage featuring top international cast and crew, with Gauteng Choristers and music by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO), with Juan Burgers on piano and conducted by one of Germany´s leading opera conductors, Johannes Stert.
 
Don Giovanni produced in-house by Joburg Theatre and directed by Christoph Dammann, with Musa Nkuna as the production´s Artistic Consultant, with the most important parts of the text translated to English by Amanda Holden. The recitatives in Don Giovanni where the action is driven will be in English while all music with orchestra will be sung in original Italian with surtitles
 
Described by Mozart as a “drama giocoso” that is, “funny drama”, Don Giovanni, is an ingenious mixture of serious and comical opera. Throughout the opera, Don Giovanni, the lover who used to be so successful, fails to seduce a woman. His magic no longer works, his dark, violent and misogynistic side emerges more strongly and is a deterrent. The comedy is dark, as the voices and music are rich.
 
“As Joburg Theatre we are excited to once again have opera return to our stage and we expect our audiences to thoroughly enjoy these special performances”, says Xoliswa Nduneni-Ngema, CEO of Joburg City Theatres
 
The role of Mozart’s most incorrigible playboy – Don Giovanni – is sung by American operatic bass-baritone Kevin Short. Short’s current engagements include singing Porgy Porgy and Bess, at the Metropolitan Opera. He has performed in over twenty different operas at the Metropolitan Opera and at various operas houses in the United States and around the world. German bass-baritone Oliver Weidinger sings Don Giovanni’s trusty servant Leporello. Weidinger is a member of the ensemble at the Theater Regensburg in Germany. Portuguese soprano Carla Caramujo performs in the role of Donna Anna, a graduate of Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  She recently performed Un Moto di gioia, Mozart Concert Arias by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker with the Portuguese National Ballet (CNB) and baroque orchestra Divino Sospiro.
 
South African born Tenor Musa Nkuna who is now based in Germany performs the role of Don Ottavio, he debuted in 2001 as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni in Switzerland. He has been a tenor with the Theatre of Pforzheim, Cologne State Opera, Teatro Nacional de São Carlos, Lisbon and Mecklenburg State Theatre, Schwerin. In 2016 Nkuna sang the role of Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute directed by Dr Christoph Damman. Njabulo Mthimkhulu gives his voice to the beleaguered Masetto. In 2015 he sang the role of Nelson Mandela at the world premiere of Juan Burgers’ Ubuntu-The Opera at the Playhouse in Durban. Mthimkhulu currently lectures music at the Nelson Mandela University. Nokrismesi ‘Kimmy’ Skota plays Masetto’s fiancé, and Don Giovanni’s current obsession, Zerlina. She is a lyric soprano and is best known for her performances with internationally acclaimed Dutch violinist Andre Rieu, which led to her performing around the world from 2010 to 2013.
 
Rouel Beukes sings the role of the Commendatore, father of Donna Anna and later the famous “stone guest”. Beukes is a bass baritone and has been part of the worldwide tour of Sir Andrew Lloyd-Weber’s The Phantom of the Opera.
 
Damman directed Mozart’s The Magic Flute in 2016 for Joburg Theatre with Nkuna as the producer of the production. As an Opera Don Giovanni is dark, not only in terms of plot, but also because many of the scenes take place at night or in a darkened room or courtyard.  With this in mind, the aesthetics and design of this production are inspired by the “film noir” of the 1950s, with low-key lighting, strong light-dark contrasts and a few splashes of colour.
 
Don Giovanni brings the glory of opera back to Joburg Theatre and revels in the magnificence of voice, music and drama in celebrating 60 years.
 
Performances are from 12 August to 21 August and Ticket Prices range between R250

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