Opera for 6 singers, 5 on-stage musicians, male choir, orchestra, electronics and video.
Don Giovanni's Inferno / Don Giovanni aux enfers / Don Juans Inferno
Roundtrip to opera-hell in one act.
After a traditionally set dinner-scene, we follow Don Giovanni to hell.
Part opera fiction, following Mozart's character as he dives into what turns out to be the underworld of opera, part coma dream, taking place inside the mind of the opera singer after he hit his head against the trap door.
In opera-hell we traverse through 400 years of opera history guided by the opera-devil, Polystopheles, comprised by all the historic Mephistopheleses, Plutos and devils in company of all the daemons, damned, evil and otherwise hell-bound characters of the repertoire. We also traverse through the hidden and dark parts of the opera house through video excursions, using images of the off-stage areas as virtual stage-sets.
In opera-hell the damned and evil characters are exposed to contrapasso a.k.a. poetic justice (with greetings to Dante), i.e. punishments based on the crimes they committed in their operas. These punishments are always musical in nature and form both entertainment for the natives as well as auditions and rehearsals for a grand show that the opera-devil is working to set up as he also takes the roles of dictatorial conductor and stage director.
All music and text is "sampled" from ca. 30 historic operas dating from 1600 to 1927. The original music is (mostly) recognisable, but twisted and given new meaning through changes in register, style, context and function.
An evening of twisted classics, operatic meta, broken clichés, cinematic post-apocalypse, infernal misfits, up-side-down arias, gender-bending, waterboarding, musical punishment, hampered singing, mechanical contraptions, grinding stage-mechanics, light and smoke. In other words a comedy!
Concept, re-composition, staging and video: Simon Steen-Andersen
Co-produced by Opéra national du Rhin in Strasbourg, The Royal Danish Opera in Copenhagen and Festival Musica Strasbourg
On-stage quintet: ICTUS (BE)
Premiere of Strasbourg-version: 16.09-21.09.2023
Premiere of Copenhagen-version: 20.04-09.05.2024
Photos: © Klara Beck / l’Opéra national du Rhin