Audiences tend to think of opera as a big experience: big theaters, big voices, towering sets and larger-than-life plots. But Vashon Opera, kicking off its sixth season this weekend, is quietly making a name for itself as an intimate, up-close experience – all the big drama just feet in front of you. And their first 2014-15 opera, Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” is an excellent work to experience in this way.
Written by Mozart and his partner librettist da Ponte in 1787, “Don Giovanni” manages to combine comedy, tragedy and even the supernatural in one brilliant score. As the infamous Don Juan seduces his way through much of the female cast and commits murder to get there, he’s plotted against by both the living and the dead, finally meeting his fate in the famously scary scene where the statue of his victim comes to life and drags him down to hell. Performed in the warm acoustics of the Vashon High School theater, this is the kind of drama and singing that only gets more powerful the closer you get.
Supported by a $2,000 Washington Arts Commission grant, the production is directed by Pacific Lutheran University vocal professor James Brown, with Anton Belov as Don Giovanni, Janeanne Houston as the vengeful Donna Anna, Konstantin Kvach as her father the Commendatore, and Megan Chenovick as the flirty Zerlina. Sheila Bristow is the performance pianist.
The season continues with American composer Richard Wargo’s “The Music Shop” in February (free for Vashon Island kids) and Britten’s “Albert Herring” in May.
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Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday (Sept. 12) and 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Vashon High School theater, 20120 Vashon Highway SW, Vashon. Tickets are $35 (available at Vashon Bookshop and online). 206-388-2926, vashonopera.org. For ferry times and prices, go to wsdot.wa.gov/ferries.