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‘Don Giovanni’ and Songs by Black Composers End the 2022 BOF Season


Berkshire Opera Festival wraps up its second full season since the COVID-19 pandemic with a fully staged “Don Giovanni,” with Andre Courville as the insatiable seducer, Christian Zaremba as the comic sidekick Leporello, Laura Wilde as Donna Anna and John Cheek as the commendatore.

One of Mozart’s most famous works, “Don Giovanni” is a dark comedy about the titular Don Juan, who mercilessly seduces women as conquests. The story line of a man who would undoubtedly have been quickly canceled in the modern world creates a showcase for beautiful singing.

Berkshire Opera Festival has consistently put on productions with stellar singing and acting, notably in “Rigoletto” and “Don Pasquale.”  The “Rigoletto” got a prolonged standing ovation. The staging of “Don Pasquale,” a comic opera, was both funny and imaginative.

Perhaps because of the social and cultural climate of the past few years, “Don Giovanni” has been featured in several companies’ seasons,  including Tanglewood, which did a staged version last month that was spectacular.

Performances will be on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 1 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 23, at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m., at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Mass.

“Don Giovanni” will be sung in Italian with projected English translations; the Berkshire Opera Festival website also has a summary of the plot. The opera’s running time is approximately three hours and 10 minutes including one intermission.Tickets are from $20 to $120 and can be purchased through the Mahaiwe box office (413-528-0100).

Earlier in the month, on Wednesday, Aug. 10,  at 7:30 p.m. Berkshire Opera Festival will offer a program of art songs by Black composers, an unjustly neglected repertoire. The performers in “High on the Ramparts” are soprano Kearstin Piper Brown and tenor Joshua Blue. The performance will be in the Crane Room at the Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Mass.

Tickets are free but this concert is expected to sell out, so reservations are required. Go to www.berkshireoperafestival.org.

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