Czech out Don Giovanni

The Act II finale of Don Giovanni. The narrow stage, high proscenium arch, and shallow orchestra pit that allows the instrumentalists to keep in visual communication with the cast are all typical features of 18th-century theaters. Courtesy National Theatre.

There aren’t many great operas that premiered more than 200 years ago that can be seen today in the same theater. But there is one, and it’s one of the finest. Mozart’s Don Giovanni was first staged 233 years ago at Prague’s Estates Theater, and a new production there has just been released online through OperaVision. Don’t expect a glitzy, big-name cast. The National Theatre uses an ensemble approach with singers from the Czech Republic appearing in carefully rehearsed and well-conducted stagings. What you can expect is a surprising degree of intimacy and impact; Mozart’s most earth-shattering opera premiered in a venue that’s smaller than the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Don Giovanni is available free of charge through Dec. 18 at

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