Kasper Holten’s production of Don Giovanni pictured in a performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Credit: Bill Cooper/ROH

The Los Angeles Opera will present a live simulcast of its opening night of Mozart’s Don Giovanni at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 23, in high-definition video from nine cameras at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion to large LED screens at the Santa Monica Pier.

Although no tickets are required for entrance, guests are encouraged to sign up in advance at LAOpera.org/OperaAtTheBeach to get important information about parking and the latest updates and to receive a free gift at the event.

The opera may be composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but this epic multimedia production is being performed under the watchful eye of James Conlon, multiple Grammy Award-winning conductor who, amongst many impressive achievements, adapted, arranged and conducted the score for the 1995 film production of Madame Butterfly.

The music will be performed by the resident orchestra of the Los Angeles Opera, made up of some 70 plus world class musicians who play all of the productions. “They are amongst the very best opera orchestras in the United States,” Conlon tells the Daily Press.

First performed in 1787, Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts and it is, in essence, a retelling of the Don Juan legend. Combining comedy and tragedy, the story follows the notorious womanizer as he lusts his way towards his dramatic downfall. In the heat of the moment, the notorious Giovanni murders the father of one of his conquests, unwittingly unleashing an ominous force from beyond the grave that can’t be stopped. Accustomed to getting away with anything and everything, he must now face the music as years of cruelty and debauchery come due.

“Don Giovanni is one of the pillars of the opera repertory and has been so regarded universally for the 220 plus years of its existence. It’s an absolute masterpiece,” Conlon says. “Its appeal is first and foremost due to the perfection and inspiration of its music. Its plot is located at the nexus of sexual and class politics. It portrays several burning social issues similar to some with which our contemporary society grapples, the victimization of women and the suppression of the rights of the underprivileged.”

The opera is sung in Italian because, let’s face facts, that’s really the only choice, but subtitles will be provided in both English and Spanish.

“I can’t choose a favorite work of Mozart, I have conducted over 200 performances of Mozart operas and just as many of the symphonies and concertos for piano and violin. There is not a single one of them that I would want to live without,” Conlon says, adding, “I have 20 favorite composers, but if I could only conduct Mozart for the rest of my life, I think I would still be very happy.”

The impressive list of people involved continues with production design by director Kasper Holten and scenery by designer Es Devlin, known for innovative stage designs for Beyoncé, Adele and U2 among others and Lucas Meachem, one of Los Angeles Opera’s most popular baritones, will star in the title role.

Opera aficionados are advised to bring their own blankets, low lawn seats and cushions and don’t forget sweaters and jackets. Outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed.

Chairs will not be available for rent and alcoholic beverages won’t be allowed inside.


Scott fell in love with Santa Monica when he was much younger and now, after living and working in five different countries, he has returned. He's written for the likes of the FT, NBC, the BBC and CNN.