Hell hath no fury: Women unleashed in new version of classic
ON October 29, 1787, the music written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for Don Giovanni, an opera in two parts, was premiered by Prague Italian opera at the National Theatre.
This year, on October 19, Queensland Opera Director Lindy Hume premiers her re-imagined version of the same great opera at Brisbane's Queensland Performing Arts Centre.
It is not the first time Hume has directed Don Giovanni, after taking the reins 30 years ago, nor is it unusual to re-interpret the narrative of this legendary hero-villain. This time around however, she not only brings her cache as an older, experienced woman, but also the currency of the #metoo movement.
Don Giovanni is based on the mythical, literary character of Don Juan, the charismatic figure who through charm, wit, lies and deceit, seduces thousands of women.
Although he ultimately receives his comeuppance, he is also revered as dashing, wild and daring - a force of nature to behold.
Hume said Don Giovanni ranks alongside Carmen as one of opera's most iconic, sexually-charged characters, and there's an expectation from audiences to see this sensuality revealed in all its intensity.
"But for me it's also about an addictive, abusive, entitled personality," Hume told Seniors News. "You cannot stage Don Giovanni today without the context of #metoo.
"Don Giovanni isn't your standard womaniser, he is a rapist, a murderer, and at the same time he is charismatic, funny and charming."
As part of the new production, about 100 fearless Brisbane women of various ages, backgrounds and body sizes will star in a thrilling seven-minute finale sequence, in which Don Giovanni is dragged to his end by the hundreds of victims he has preyed upon.
These women, the horde of Avenging Furies, appear in various stages of undress - either naked, semi-naked or clothed in underwear - and is starkly representative of Hume's provocative production.
The final scene where the Avenging Furies drag Giovanni down into hell provides an appropriately soul-stirring moment.
"I want this scene to be as spectacular and as resonant for contemporary audiences as possible," Hume said.
MOZART'S DON GIOVANNI, HELL HATH NO FURY
- Queensland Opera
- October 19 - November 3
- From $59
- Phone 13 62 46 (Monday to Saturday 9am-8.30pm AEST) or online at operaq.com.au