Pacific Opera Project Presents Don Giovanni

As an opera fan I’ve been lucky enough to attend several productions over they years. I’ve witnessed the works of Bizet, Puccini, Verdi and even Tennessee Williams come alive onstage and it’s been wonderful. Yet, I’d never attended a Mozart opera. How on earth had I missed the work of one of our greatest composers? Luckily, that was remedied yesterday when I attended Pacific Opera Project’s production of Don Giovanni.

This was my second Pacific Opera Project production and it’s fast becoming my favorite company. As a person who can’t afford orchestra seats much of my opera viewing has been from high up in the balcony. As wonderful as the music is I’m not such a fan of viewing the entire show through binoculars. Pacific Opera Project is the antithesis of this. With the goal of bringing opera to the masses every show is reasonably priced and presented in an intimate, entirely unique setting.

photo courtesy of Pacific Opera Project

This month’s production of Don Giovanni is held at The Vortex – a unique event space just south of LA’s Arts District. As in all POP productions there’s a mixture of general admission and table seating. I was lucky enough to be seated at a table and enjoyed pre-show wine and appetizers (included in the price of admission).

photo courtesy of Pacific Opera Project

When offering tickets at low prices there’s not as much funding for sets and POP knows how to make a lot from a little. The production takes place entirely on one set piece but thanks to creative lighting and staging the viewer is fully transported to a different place and time. In this instance it’s the era of Prohibition.

photo courtesy of Pacific Opera Project

Don Giovanni is a mob boss who’s propensity for wine, woman and song is accompanied by a violent streak. We first meet him attempting to rape Donna Anna, daughter of the Commendatore. She manages to escape but her father is killed in the ensuing tussle. She seeks revenge accompanied by her fiance Don Ottavio and a trio of others (Donna Elvira, Zerlina and Masetto) who he has wronged, Ever unapologetic Don Giovanni, with the aid of his right hand man Leporello, continues his carousing ways until he receives his comeuppance in a surprisingly supernatural manner.

Needless to say, Don Giovanni is an intense, wild ride. It’s also quite funny with several comedic scenes interspersed throughout. It’s one of the most unique operas I’ve ever seen and POP’s production is fantastic. I was literally on the edge of my seat throughout and was endlessly fascinated by the scenes unfolding before me.

photo courtesy of Pacific Opera Project

POP always manages to find extremely talented performers and the cast of Don Giovanni is no exception. Adrian Rosas as Don Giovanni commanded the stage and Saira Frank as Donna Anna broke my heart with her performance of the aria “Non Mi Dir.’ Andrew Potter took on the small but important role as Il Commendatore and I’ll not soon forget his rendition of the final number. My favorite performances were Daria Somers as Donna Elvira and E. Scott Levin as Leporello. Possessing incredible range they carried their alternating humorous and heavy roles with ease and stole the show.

As performed by Pacific Opera Project, Don Giovanni is a resounding success. With only three days of performances left I suggest hurrying to grab a seat.

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