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International singers star in Mozart’s Opera Don Giovanni
April 17, 2016, 2:01 pm

Ahmadi Music Group performed Mozart’s classic Don Giovanni in the Abdulhussain Abdulredha Theatre in Salmiya on Thursday and Friday, 14 and 15 April. The opera narrates the story of a wealthy young man Don Giovanni, who expects every woman to be in love with him, and treats them all with disrespect. Gradually, the women he has dishonored join together and begin to pursue him to take their revenge, but he always manages to escape.The exciting climax of the play successfully concludes his salacious story.

The opera engaged the audience through an emotionally diverse story beautifully rendered by the talents of a live orchestra, chorus, international soloists, and the ballet company of Center for the Arts. A team of international soloists seized avidly the vibrant feelings of Mozart’s classic to produce an opera that was propelled by sheer invention, emotional punch and onstage talent.

This was the only fully staged opera in the Northern Gulf this year. The international soloists who visited Kuwait to perform spoke with The Times Kuwait in an exclusive interview about their roles and their career as Opera singers. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

Eva Fiechter, a half Swiss half Greek, portrayed the character Donna Anna, an emotionally complex young noble lady who was engaged to Don Ottavio and she retaliates for his abuse against her. She said about her experience with her craft, “For me, opera is one of the most complete form of art. It links music, theater, painting and clothes design together. Also, it gives the opportunity to explore different characters every time you embody a new role and teaches you a lot about history and human psychology.”

Chris Foster, who has been involved in a variety of endeavors in the music world, played the character Leporello, Don Giovanni’s servant. He offered some advice on what it takes to be a professional opera singer, “You must be suitable vocally for the roles you want to sing and be able to act them out well too. The public needs more realism, even if opera stretches reality.”

Maud Millar, an Irish performer from London, sang for Donna Elvira, a noble woman who has been used and abandoned by Don Giovanni. Talking about her character, she said, “The big challenge, for me, was finding the balance in the character. She is, above all, a woman with legitimate feelings and emotions which are worth paying attention to- and I wanted that to come through in my exploration of her.”

Julian Debreuil who studied singing, conducting, piano and composition at the Royal College of Music in London and the Solti Accademia di Bel Canto in Tuscany, plays two characters. Masetto - a peasant who has just married Zerlina, only to have her snatched from him by Don Giovanni. Il Commendatore - Donna Anna’s father who is killed by Don Giovanni at the beginning, but then returns as a statue and condemns Don Giovanni to hell. He explained that the biggest challenge of performing in the opera was learning a new translation while staying true to the music and trying to follow the director’s vision.

Tristan Stocks, a tenor from the UK, played Don Ottavio – the husband of Donna Anna, and he was very happy to perform for a Kuwait-based audience. He said, “It is my first time in Kuwait and I’m really pleased to be able to play a part in bringing Opera to somewhere that only has a few performances of this kind of music each year.” 

Christina Pinto
Staff Writer

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