The Giacomo Variations (Toronto)

Mozart meets “Mamma Mia!” [NY Times]

Last Saturday was an afternoon of Hollywood-laced opera as myself, my mother, and my partner went to see The Giacomo Variations at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto. Starring John Malkovich as Giacomo Girolamo Casanova himself, the performance also featured actress Ingeborga Dapkünaité, Soprano Kirsten Blaise, and Baritone Simon Schnorr.

Under the direction of Michael Sturminger, Malkovich, as the Venetian author and adventurer Giacomo Casanova, and Ingeborga Dapkünaité will perform scenes from Casanova’s 1790 memoir, “Histoire de ma vie.”

As Casanova reminisces about one of his close friends, Mozart’s librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, audiences will hear excerpts from some of Mozart’s best-known operas, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, performed live by a Wiener Academy Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Martin Haselböck. [Playbill]

As the famous lover nears the end of his life, Casanova looks back on his affairs while composing his stories to perhaps be published in a book.

With the small cast of four portraying the present and past, the audience is taken through reflective moments, silly scenarios, and uncomfortable encounters (at least uncomfortable to the squirmy people sitting in my area, some of whom left during intermission…Was the constant undressing and fake penis too much for them?! Because it didn’t get any more “decent” in the second half, let me tell you!).

Anyone who was expecting a typical theatrical experience isn’t familiar with Malkovich and his body of work. If you’re interested in unique artistic experiences, this is one not to miss!

* Also note that John Malkovich basically helped save a man’s life on the Thursday before. So awesome!