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Divaria Productions Paying Homage To "Don Giovanni" In The Hamptons

Olivia Rutigliano

Nearly 200 years after librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, Spanish bel canto expert Manuel Garcia and his daughter, opera diva Maria Malibran brought the first Italian opera to New York, Don Giovanni in New York returns - with a twist - this autumn at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor.

"We are very excited to bring this original production to the Hamptons. My brother Andrew and I grew up spending summers and weekends here and have always wanted to collaborate on something that brings together great writing and great actors with classical, professional opera," noted Soprano Ashley Bell. "The story of Da Ponte, Mozart's librettist, bringing opera, and specifically Don Giovanni, to New York gave us this unique opportunity. We'd like to think bringing this opera to the Hamptons mirrors Da Ponte's passion to bring opera to New York and the New World."

The innovative production will re-enact the occurrences leading up to Don Giovanni, one of the country's earliest opera performances - with the original performed in 1826. Don Giovanni in New York celebrates the connection between Mozart's librettist Italian immigrant, da Ponte, Garcia and Malibran.

"With our show, we would like to challenge preconceived notions that people who have heard of Lorenzo da Ponte may have while simultaneously enticing audiences who are unfamiliar with opera and Da Ponte," Bell noted.

On May 23, 1826, da Ponte, Garcia, and Malibran performed Don Giovanni for the first time in America at Park Theatre on Park Row in lower Manhattan. Exactly 192 years later, Divaria Productions performed this exact opera at the Basilica of St. Patrick's Cathedral, the same historical location of the original performance.

Voce di Meche says, "it would be worth the trip! Not only for Mozart's music and the fine performances, but also for new insights into the manner in which we identify with literary characters and/or project our own characters onto them."

Don Giovanni in New York is directed by Anton Armendariz Diaz and conducted by Nicolo Sbuelz, with a script by Andrew Bell. It features Ricardo Rivera,, Helena Brown, Christopher Nelson, Ashley Galvani Bell, Natalie Havens, Eliam Ramos, Michal Gizinski, Paulina Cossio and Anton Armendariz Diaz.

This production will also feature members of the Choral Society of the Hamptons who will serve as the chorus for the production.

"Audiences will also be in for a treat with the quality of opera singers which includes Richard Bernstein, appearing courtesy of the Metropolitan Opera, where he has sung over 400 performances," Bell shared.

Divaria Productions was founded in 2011 in order to give emerging artists and stars the opportunity to perform at a high level, as well as make quality opera accessible. The group also puts on special performances for patients with Alzheimer's and other ailments who might otherwise be unable to enjoy vocal concerts. The company has performed in New York, New Jersey, Arizona and Spain.

"Divaria Productions has had great experience both with Hamptons audiences and the Bay Street Theatre, presenting the very first opera at Bay Street Theatre in 2015, and is excited to bring more live opera here to both veteran and new opera goers," Bell added.

Don Giovanni in New York can be seen on September, September 22 at 8 p.m.

Tickets start at $25 and are available at www.baystreet.org.

Bay Street Theater is located at 1 Bay Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, visit divariaproductions.com.

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