Opera & Musical Theater

Don Giovanni: Lover, Womanizer, And Abuser

Bass-baritone Ryan McKinny talks about portraying the famous opera lothario in the #MeToo era.

This past weekend, Houston Grand Opera began its run of one of Mozart’s most famous operas, Don Giovanni, with Ryan McKinny portraying the title role.

Don Giovanni is the Italian version of the famous hedonistic character Don Juan, well known for his pursuit of multiple women. For McKinny, it’s an interesting role to tackle in an era where the kind of manipulative behavior espoused by the character is being called out.

“I think for a lot of years in opera, especially around [the issue of women’s agency], we’ve not been as responsible as we could be, really looking at what these stories are saying,” says McKinny about HGO’s current production.

He goes on to say that even though the story is from the perspective of Don Giovanni, their interpretation does delve into the aftermath of the power dynamic that favors him over the women he pursues and the production treats him as if he is an addict with a problem rather than a would-be romantic. 

Hear my conversation with McKinny about his approach to the role and the unique production in the audio above. Don Giovanni has four more performances, starting this Saturday, April 27th through Sunday, May 5th. Go to Houston Grand Opera’s website for more information.

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