Backstage Pass: Model Victoria Henley tangles with ‘Don Giovanni’


Mozart’s powerful, visceral, and grimly comical classic, “Don Giovanni,” was brought to life in late January by the visionary Atlanta Opera team at the illustrious Cobb Energy Centre.

Performed with great aplomb by an internationally acclaimed cast, this legendary opera provides a unique and starkly original take on the centuries-old Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte.

Backstage Pass on IHeart Radio/FCB radio and CTFashionMag was afforded the exclusive opportunity to spotlight the incredible opening night performance of this gritty and outrageous tale of the rapid rise and meteoric fall of an incorrigible young playboy, all within the span of a single day.

A palpable sense of excitement and the distinctive, beautifully executed opening score by the talented orchestra filled the air as the curtain drew upon the fateful opening scene, which set the stage for the chaotic series of events to follow.

The two-act opera began with Leporello, Giovanni’s servant, waiting outside the house of the titular character’s latest intended conquest, Donna Anna. The masked misogynist rushes out of the house, pursued by the enraged young woman, after which her father, the Commendatore challenges the perpetrator to a dual. Donna Anna’s father meets his violent end during the aforementioned altercation, prompting the young woman on a path to relentlessly seek revenge and retribution.

Leporello, disgusted by his master’s heinous actions, warns Don Giovanni that he has taken the path of a complete degenerate and is surely headed toward demise. Ignoring any warnings, the self-indulgent libertine sets his sight upon his next target, a beautiful and glamorous  “mystery woman” who is traveling alone. The tables are soon turned, however, when the shameless womanizer discovers that the woman is actually none other than Donna Elvira, one of the many jilted lovers from his staggering repertoire. Adamantly determined to either marry Don Giovanni or make him pay for his transgressions, Donna Elvira elaborates her paradoxical feelings of love and disgust, after which the opera’s anti-hero manages to escape, whilst Laporello pointedly explains to Elvira that she is not the first woman to be seduced by Giovanni’s lecherous charms, and that she most certainly will not be the last.

A tangled web of murderous plans, lies, and deception ensues as the heartbroken Donna Anna confides to her fiancé, Don Ottavio, that she will not rest until he avenges her father’s death, and Donna Elvira hatches a plan of her own as she continues to seethe with obsessive rage.

Nevertheless, the antagonistic leading man and his trepidatiously loyal subordinate, once again, trek toward their next misadventure, stumbling upon a wedding party, where two blissful and unassuming young peasants, Zerlina and Masetto, are celebrating their nuptials with a group of friends. Determined to seduce Zerlina, Don Giovanni instructs Laporello to coaxe the groom away to his palace, after which he attempts to deceive the young bride by saying that he will marry her and will provide a far more luxurious life than the one she would lead with a pauper like Masetto.

Donna Elvira, ardently committed to either winning Don Giovanni’s ultimate affections or exacting sweet revenge, arrives to inform the wedding party of the charlatan’s salacious and seedy character, but Giovanni manages to convince everyone that Elvira is out of her mind.

The plot thickens, the story builds, the tensions accumulate, and the motives to murder the deceptive deviant culminate as the the opera progresses, leading to a climactic finale that will remain with, and haunt you, long after the curtain has closed.

Stand out numbers include “Dalla sua pace”, ‘Là ci darem la mano”, “Notte e giorno faticar”, and the tremendous cast: Brandon Cedel (Don Giovanni), Mané Galoyan (Donna Anna), Jennifer Johnson Cano (Donna Elvira), Duke Kim (Don Ottavio), Giovanni Romeo (Leporello), Meigui Zhang (Zerlina), Andrew Gilstrap (Masetto), George Andguladze (Commendatore), who each fully embody their respective roles.

The orchestra provided a full, majestic sound, enhancing the profound beauty of the opera’s iconic numbers, and the costumes, luxurious and decadent, made the period storyline even more immersive. Each and every member of the crew excelled in their respective roles in The Atlanta Opera’s exquisite production of Don Giovanni, including Conductor Jan Latham-Koenig and stage director Kristine McIntyre.

Special thanks to our media and marketing liaison, Greg, for facilitating our visit for this spotlight feature.


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