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‘Don Giovanni’

Notorious opera takes the AMFS stage

Katherine Roberts
Special to The Aspen Times
Jane Glover conducting in 2021.
Carlin Ma/Courtesy photo

Based on the legend of Don Juan, and directed by Chía Patiño, this comedy and morality tale “tells the story of an irresistible yet irredeemable playboy whose escapades lead him along a path to his own destruction,” according to the AMFS website. The opera was selected by Renée Fleming and Patrick Summers, as were the student artists of AOTVA.

Recently, Jane Glover sat down for an interview with the AMFS president and CEO, Alan Fletcher, for a recording of the program “High Notes,” in partnership with Aspen Public Radio, to talk about the opera and the famous story within it.

“The subject is appalling,” Glover said. “It’s about ‘Me Too,’ isn’t it? It’s about the way horrible men treat women. It’s about a murder and all sorts of harassment and mental problems, as well. And yet, it is billed as a comedy.”



The opera was considered modern when it was written. Glovers said that, historically, operas were based on history or Greek and Roman plays. What Mozart and his contemporary Da Ponte did, as outsiders, according to Glover, was unite in their ability to view society and analyze human behavior and hold up a mirror to the audience. “Don Giovanni” is an example of this exploration.

“Absolutely everybody who comes under the influence of Don Giovanni is damaged by this man, who is still somehow made to feel incredibly attractive. This makes (the narrative) a problem in whichever age you set it,” she said.




The irony of the challenging subject matter alongside a masterpiece is not lost on Glover.

“As with all Mozarts, the music is phenomenal. Every line is genius; it’s like Shakespeare,” she said. “That’s what art can do for you.”

No stranger to high art forms, Glover has conducted all the major symphony and chamber orchestras in Britain, as well as orchestras in Europe, the United States, Asia and Australia.

If you go …

What: ‘Don Giovanni,’ conducted by Jane Glover, featuring singers of the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS program (AOTVA)

When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18

Where: Benedict Music Tent

Tickets: $50 and $85

More info: aspenmusicfestival.com

Also in demand on the international opera stage, Glover has appeared with numerous companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House Covent Garden and English National Opera, among many others.

A Mozart specialist, she has conducted Mozart operas all over the world regularly since she first performed them at Glyndebourne in the 1980s, and her core operatic repertoire includes Monteverdi, Handel and Britten.

“Jane is special in that she has both style and musical intelligence in her conducting,” said Patrick Chamberlain, AMFS vice president for artistic administration. “The chance for our singers to learn from a true scholar and teacher is so important, as is what she brings to the full performance. She brings such authority and humor and wisdom to the music of Mozart. It’s going to be a great night.”


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