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2023-2024 Season

Don Giovanni

Arizona Opera ends season in Tucson with laugh-filled 'Don Giovanni'

Arizona Opera ends season in Tucson with laugh-filled 'Don Giovanni'
Arizona Daily Star Tucson's main source for local news

Cathalena E. Burch

Medium: Print

Credit Stage Director Tara Faircloth for emphasizing that humor, from the hilarious scene where Elvira tears pedals off a rose, gently at first then with crushing fury, to Leporello dressed in Giovanni’s clothes and trying to hide his true identity when Elvira mistakes him for her scorned lover.

Interesting to note, Faircloth was the director the last time Arizona Opera mounted this opera in 2016.

Here are some other highlights of Saturday’s performance:

There wasn’t a single weak link in the cast, from the wonderful chorus to the powerfully-voiced and very funny Ollarsaba, a Tempe native making his hometown opera debut.

Nelson’s rich baritone was matched by his delicious comedic timing.

Palmertree’s soprano soared at every turn and her comic acting prompted true belly laughs from the audience.

Brickhardt, a sublime tenor and member of Arizona Opera’s studio artist program, played the lovesick sap to Vasquez’s emotional trainwreck of grief punctuated by her terrific soaring soprano.

The orchestra under Candillari, conducting her first Don Giovanni, reminded us why we love this opera. Candillari brought out the dynamic and powerful textures of the music, from the light-hearted romps when Giovanni and Leporello were bickering over his womanizing to the shuddering fear of God when Commendatore’s ghost delivers Giovanni’s ultimate fate.

The high-tech video wall that Arizona Opera has been using in most of its productions of late seamlessly took us to Don Giovanni’s lavish palace, the town square and the garden beneath Donna Elvira’s balcony. It also provided the bloodless bloody scene when Giovanni killed Commendatore.

– Cathalena E. Burch