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Don Giovanni’s #MeToo Problem

A UW production takes a new perspective on the opera’s sexual politics.

Scene from UW Opera's stage production of Don Giovanni

Director Lindsey Meekhof was troubled by a scene in which the peasant Zerlina (Amanda Lauricella) is instantly charmed by Don Giovanni (Luis Orozco). Hyewon Park

Lindsey Meekhof DMA’22 directed a unique spring production of Don Giovanni, Mozart’s opera about a sexually obsessed nobleman. Her version commented on how its premise perpetuates rape culture.

“There are moments in the show that didn’t sit well with me,” Meekhof says. “I wanted to start a bigger conversation about the #MeToo movement and opera.”

Meekhof was troubled by a scene in which the peasant Zerlina is instantly charmed by Don Giovanni (Amanda Lauricella DMA’21 and Luis Orozco DMAx’23).

“I think there’s room for an interpretation where Zerlina doesn’t have the power [to say no] because she’s in a lower position,” she says.

Meekhof loosely based the Don Giovanni character on the Joker from DC Comics as a way to highlight his villainy.

“I hope my version inspires people to look at other productions and talk about different ways we can interpret opera,” she says.

Published in the Summer 2022 issue

Tags: music, opera

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