The theme of class distinctions is prominent in the opera, and the Louisiana setting provides ample opportunities for contrasting the aristocratic Spanish emigres with Cajun and Creole cultures. The pervasiveness and mystery of voodoo beliefs makes New Orleans an even more plausible setting for the opera's supernatural elements than Spain. Mardi Gras (carnevale during Spanish rule) provides a perfect context for characters to adopt disguises in their attempts at deception.
Don Giovanni is psychologically probing and sometimes darkly unsettling, but it's also deliriously funny. Swedberg has said that his goal is to capture both its high drama and wild humor. Gary Decker designed the sets, using prominent Spanish New Orleans architectural landmarks as models. Christopher Lees conducts the performances at Power Center November 8-11.
[Originally published in October, 2012.]