Cologne Opera House to Reveal Don Giovanni for Modern Age

Following the success of Wagner's opera The Ring of the Nibelung, it was inevitable that The Cologne Opera House's Don Giovanni would cause quite a stir.

Mr. Laufenberg, Mr. Maltman and Ms.Qian from Wu Promotion

Following the success of the two cycles of Wagner's opera The Ring of the Nibelung at Shanghai's Grand Theatre, it was inevitable that The Cologne Opera House's next project in China, a production of Mozart's Don Giovanni showing at the National Theatre for the Performing Arts (NCPA) from 29th September, would cause quite a stir. Early the morning after the final performance of The Ring, artistic director Uwe Eric Laufenberg arrived in Beijing from Shanghai, while the production's internationally acclaimed lead baritone Christopher Maltman flew from London, to meet with the capital's media at the NCPA.

In discussing his new adaption of Don Giovanni, Laufenberg suggested that the eponymous hero displays an almost revolutionary anarchism in refusing to acknowledge the divisions between social classes. Mozart used this work to address the moral questions society was facing at that time, and today's audience will certainly recognize that Don Giovanni's persona is substantially at odds with the established attitudes.

Mr. Maltman Tells His Explanation about Don Giovanni

To portray Don Giovanni's romantic and elegant disposition, Laufenberg recruited Christopher Maltman, a tall, charming and handsome actor with a wide musical range and strong voice, rich with vibrato. In the last 5 years, Maltman has performed in 6 productions of Don Giovanni. He told reporters "to my mind this is a very complicated and challenging role. I actually try to play him as simply as possible, a true interpretation, to allow audiences to experience Don Giovanni's true spirit, a trustworthy character. Don Giovanni represents a shift in opera, and it explores the changing moral attitudes in society. Don Giovanni is a product of the society he lives in, but he is easily differentiated from the other characters living around him".

Referring to the modern context of the production, Maltman told reporters "Although this is a modern take, the characters have retained their essential characteristics. The costumes may be of the present day, but this does not affect the integral spirit of the work. Laufenberg added that "as society is developing today, people increasingly resemble Don Giovanni. Don Giovanni's actions would no longer be restricted by society and rather than criticize his way of life many yearn for it. In fact today everyone has something of the Don Giovanni about them! What I have tried to do is investigate how Don Giovanni is viewed."

Often cited as Mozart's seminal opera, the Cologne Opera House's modern adaptation of Don Giovanni brings the 200 year story into the modern age. After the success of The Ring, the Cologne Opera house will once again bring excitement to the Chinese opera scene.