dR Daily

dR Daily 10/23: St. Pete Opera’s Don Giovanni

Gustavo Feulien and Kelly Curtin (foreground) with Rachael Marino and Chelsea Lehnea in "Don Giovanni" at St. Pete Opera. Image courtesy SPO.
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Emerging Artist Exhibition 2018

The Best Thing You Can Do Tonight: Catch the final performance of Don Giovanni

Going to hell has never been so much fun — or as gorgeously sung. Mozart’s masterpiece about the amoral Don Juan-inspired womanizer is a mix of both comedy and tragedy — dramma giocoso, or “joking drama,” Mozart called it — and the St. Pete Opera production closing tonight captures that humor, particularly in the buddy-comic interchanges between Giovanni (a smoldering Gustavo Feulien) and his put-upon manservant Leporello (brawny bass Christopher Nazarian). There are a few  staging lapses — a first-act climactic fight that is neither much of a climax nor much of a fight, the distracting placement of harpsichordist/assistant conductor Doug Han atop one of the two villas in the uncharacteristically rudimentary set. But the music, what you go to an opera for in the first place after all, is glorious. SPO Artistic Director Mark Sforzini and his orchestra capture both the subtleties and the grandeur of Mozart’s score, and the singers — in particular the three female leads, Chelsea Lehnea as Donna Anna, Kelly Curtin as Zerlina, and Rachael Marino as Donna Elvira — are topnotch. Marino in particular is a treat to watch, managing the difficult trifecta of being at once poignant, funny and a thrilling singer. And as for going to hell, well, stage director Karl Hesser has Giovanni dragged off by two hunky shirtless male dancers and one lissome female dancer — which, despite the flashing red lights into which they descend, seems like a pretty nice way to go.  Don Giovanni, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23, The Palladium, 253 Fifth Ave N., St. Petersburg. (727) 822-3590. stpeteopera.org.

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