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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | October 26, 2021

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Don Giovanni - A Night at the Opera

Don Giovanni – A Night at the Opera
Jennifer Brown

One of Mozart’s many timeless classics is coming to the Brisbane QPAC Theatre. A classic who has a main character that is described as a cassanova, a seductive sociopath. A funny and charming, yet dangerous and destructive tortured soul. He is Don Giovanni. And he is coming to Brisbane in this timeless piece about a man’s descent into hell that is described as nothing short of spectacular.

So be prepared to experience a kaleidoscope of emotions across the sweep of one of opera’s most exhilarating scores.

Giovanni is highly anticipated this month to be showcased at QPAC. And what will be setting this performance apart from most, is that Brisbane Locals are able to get involved! For the monumental event, Opera Queensland is inviting fearless women from the Brisbane Community, of all different types of backgrounds to participate in the thrilling finale.

We won’t spoil it too much, but the ensemble is hoping to bring together a large mass of powerful, strong and confident women to appear en masse on stage, in various stages of undress.

So of course, you are simply going to have to go see the show for yourself!

We had a chat with two cast members from the performance, Eva Kong and Shaun Brown. Playing Leporello and Donna Anna, respectively. Talking about what you can expect from the Opera and what their character’s part in this gripping story entails. And even how the themes of this production reflects on today’s society, despite Don Giovanni’s story being set so far back in time.

And even their thoughts on what this Opera is bringing to QPAC.

TCI: Tell us a bit about your character…
Shaun Brown: I play Don Giovanni’s servant, or accomplice in a way. In this production, I am more like his “whipped dog”. I get treat really badly and dragged around into his whirlpool of destruction.
Eva Kong: Donna Anna, she is extremely noble. She is a good girl at the start of the play until she nearly gets violated by Don Giovanni. Which turns her into some kind of monster who wants revenge. Who changes throughout the play from what Don has done to her. She has other women gathering around her as she tells her story, and it is like a reflection of the “Me Too” movement that is happening today.

TCI: What have you been looking forward to the most about working in Don Giovanni?
SB: The physicality. You are being thrown around, being thrown across the stage, running across stage and picking up things, you are always on the go. It is sort of the physical side of the Opera that I quite enjoy. The stamina.
EK: I have done this with Opera Australia a few years ago as an understudy and got called onto stage last minute because the main girl actually got sick. So while performing at the time I was directed from the side-wings. It was such a special experience that I wanted to come back to the role. So when I was offered to come back and do this role, I was so excited! It is such a hard role and this is one of those dream come true roles for me.

TCI: What can people expect from a play like this? Especially with Brisbane locals getting involved for a particular scene.
SB: It is going to be very energetic. It is going to be very beautiful, even though it is very beautiful, with elements of danger,it’s comical, but also like a very dark and black comedy about what is happening in society now but also what was happening back then. There is a relativity to the story about what is happening now.

TCI: Do you have a musical number we can look forward to? Or do you have a favourite piece?
SB: The Catalogue Aria would have to be my favourite. That is my big number. It is where I talk about the list I made about Don Giovanni’s amourous conquests. The song is nasty piece as there is one of his conquests has come back again to try and find him. It is sort of sad in a way, because she was the sure one for him but my character is going through a list to this woman, going through what Don is capable of and what he has done to women around Europe. It is very deep and dark in it’s way.

TCI: Have you ever been in a production where you have had locals join in?
SB: This is actually quite new with all the ladies that Lindy (Hume) wants to bring onto the stage. She didn’t want Don Giovanni to have a “heroic” death like in the original, dragged to hell by a male character. In this way, he sort of gets dragged down to hell by the women he has chastised in the past. So it will be very interesting to see.

TCI: Do you have advice to the women going on stage in various stages of undress for a scene?
EK: Funnily you ask that, I have a friend that has volunteered. She is willing to do the whole thing on stage, so I don’t even know how to advise on that. But all I can say is that it is a great thing to do on stage. And I appreciate the local volunteers who are willing to do this and support us. I admire all these brave woman who can do this for our production.

Tickets are now on sale from $59 through Opera Queensland’s website.
Season: 19 October – 3 November
Location: Playhouse, QPAC
Ticket Price: Tickets from $59
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