UGA Opera Theatre’s spring production, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, brings the talented singing actors of the Hugh Hodgson School of Music back to the UGA Fine Arts Theatre for three performances on February 10 and 11 at 8 p.m. and February 12 at 3 p.m.
This version of the classic Don Juan tale is a cornerstone of opera repertoire, according to the Opera Theatre’s director, Prof. Frederick Burchinal.
“As a great work of operatic and musical art, Don Giovanni always ranks in the top ten of the most favorite and well known, most attended and most produced operas of the entire repertoire,” said Burchinal. “Historically, it has been considered by most to be one of the greatest works ever written.”
Indeed, the opera has drawn praise from all corners for centuries—even famed Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard wrote that “Mozart’s Don Juan occupies pride of place among all classical works of art.”
Perhaps part of what makes the opera so highly regarded is the musical mastery demanded by a Mozart composition. Burchinal believes that Mozart’s music is both a challenge and necessity for singers to master and incorporate into their repertoire. “Whether intended or not, Mozart has written music which tests the technical abilities of every singer to produce vocally and musically the pure beauty of tone combined with precision of execution,” said Burchinal.
Burchinal is confident his group of singing actors—“an outstanding group whose talents seem ideally suited to take on their roles, vocally and dramatically”—are up to the task.
Audiences will recognize many of the performers from recent performances with the UGA Symphony Orchestra, the Hodgson School’s Choral area and even the Theatre and Film Studies department, with which the lead of Don Giovanni, Isaiah Feken, performed as the titular Sweeney Todd last semester.
Joining the Hodgson School students are Maestro Hilary Griffiths as conductor of the UGA Opera Orchestra and Vince Liotta as stage director. Liotta has worked with the UGA Opera Theatre on multiple past performances, and Griffiths is a newcomer. “Our guest artists have long international careers in opera and the experience of producing productions of Don Giovanni world-wide,” said Burchinal.
Tickets to the concert are $20 each or $6 with a UGA student ID and can be purchased at pac.uga.edu or the PAC box office.
RSVP and join the conversation!
UGA Opera Theatre warmly welcomes guest artist Maestro Hilary Griffiths as conductor for Mozart's masterwork, Don Giovanni, coming to the UGA Fine Arts Theatre on February 10th, 11th, and 12th, 2017.
Maestro Griffiths is a British conductor living in Germany. During the last twenty years he has held appointments as General Music Director of the city of Regensburg, Music Director of the City of Oberhausen, Chief Conductor of the Prague State Opera, Principal Conductor at the Cologne Opera, where he conducted over 300 performances, Music Director of the Eutin Opera Festival and Professor at the Mannheim University of Music. He works as a guest conductor throughout Europe, has made several recent visits to the Far East, Australia and South America, and has appeared at the festivals of Edinburgh, Camden, Schwetzingen, Wiesbaden, Würzburg, Gmunden, Prague, Litomyšl, Miškolc, Tenerife, Hong Kong and Perth (Australia). From 2009 to 2012 he was also Chief Conductor of the Opera of Wuppertal. Hilary Griffiths was born in Leamington Spa. He was a chorister at King’s College, Cambridge and later took a degree in mathematics at Trinity College, Oxford. After postgraduate work at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the London Opera Centre he completed his studies at the Conservatorio G. Verdi in Milan. After winning prizes at the Marinuzzi competition in San Remo and the IADEM competition in Florence he moved to Germany. His repertoire of more than 100 operas includes the complete middle and late Verdi and all the regularly performed operas of Mozart, Rossini and Puccini. He has also specialised in the German repertoire (Wagner, Strauss, d’Albert, Zemlinsky, Berg, Schoenberg, Henze) and in the Czech repertoire (Dvořák, Smetana, Janáček, Martinů). He conducted the first European performances of three operas by the Scottish composer Thea Musgrave, the world premieres of Das Gauklermärchen by Gerhard Konzelmann and the ballet Lulu (Nino Rota) at the Cologne Opera House, and of La porta della legge (Salvatore Sciarrino) in 2009 at Wuppertal, with which he made his U.S. debut in July 2010 at the Lincoln Center Festival in New York. At the State Opera, Prague, he has conducted more than 250 performances of 25 different operas. Among his twelve premieres there were La finta giardiniera, Eine florentinische Tragödie and Der Zwerg (Zemlisky), Salome, Erwartung, Cavalleria & Pagliacci, the first Czech performance of Death in Venice, and, most recently Tannhäuser. He has also been a regular guest at the Tenerife Opera Festival and for the Colombian Opera in Bogotá. He has conducted Don Giovanni with the Prague State Opera, at the Perth International Festival (Australia), at the State Opera, Hannover and at the City Theater, Regensburg
He conducted the first modern performances of symphonies by Pokorny (in his own edition) and his own orchestrations of the French songs by Wagner. He has recorded CDs of works by Jommelli and Weber and complete recordings of Tiefland, La Bohème (Leoncavallo) and I vespri siciliani. His DVD of Il matrimonio segreto is available on Euro Arts, his performance of Der Freischütz was televised by NDR (North German Television) and his DVD of Bluthochzeit (Fortner) was recently released on the WERGO label. In 2017 he conducts Nabucco and Rigoletto in Prague, makes his debut with English National Opera (The Barber of Seville) and conducts Otello at the Teatro Colón, Bogotá.
You will not want to miss Maestro Griffiths as he brings this Mozart opera to life at UGA. Grab your tickets and join the conversation!