‘Don Juan’ bringing flamenco to Korea

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‘Don Juan’ bringing flamenco to Korea

Mothers, lock up your daughters. The legendary libertine Don Juan is coming to Korea. Ever since the Spanish nobleman and infamous womanizer appeared in Molina’s 17th century play, “The Playboy of Seville,” there have been a great number of new versions of the story, including the Mozart opera “Don Giovanni.”
More recently, it was turned into a musical by the French singer and composer Felix Gray, who aimed the story at younger and more modern audiences.
The musical “Don Juan” succeeded in attracting more than 300,000 viewers in Montreal in 2004 when it was first launched. The show, coming to Korea from late November, will be performed in French. Like other French musicals previously performed in Korea ― “Notre Dame de Paris” and “Les DIX Commandements” ― the performance comprises 41 musical numbers without any spoken dialogue; the singers don’t dance and the dancers don’t sing.
“‘Don Juan’ is filled with moving Latin music and seductive flamenco dance to bring a bit of Spanish passion to the theater,” Jean Francois Breau, 28, who plays Don Juan in the musical, said at a press conference at the Plaza Hotel on Tuesday. According to Mr. Breau, Mr. Gray flew to Madrid and Barcelona to find flamenco dancers and enlisted about 20 professionals for the show. “I am sure the musical will bring the flamenco boom to Korea,” he said.
Mr. Breau, from Ontario, is one of the production’s original cast members and has played the character in more than 200 shows. He previously played Gringoire, the poet in the musical “Notre Dame de Paris,” both in Paris and Las Vegas.
In the musical “Don Juan,” Mr. Gray created a new character, Maria, with whom Don Juan falls in love due to a curse put on him by the knight he killed. The knight was the father of one of the women he seduced. In the end, Don Juan must fight a duel to the death with Raphael, Maria’s fiance.
“I think women are attracted to Don Juan because he makes a woman feel like the most beautiful woman in the world,” said Marie-Eve Janvier, who plays Maria, in the press conference. Janvier, 25, is also an original member of the musical and previously acted in Fleur-de-Lys in “Notre Dame de Paris” and Nefertari in “Les DIX Commandements.”
Mr. Breau said that the musical is not only about Don Juan’s love for women, but also about Maria’s love for the arts, the love Don Juan’s father, Don Luis, had for his son and Raphael’s love for his nation. “Thus, anyone aged 5 to 75 would be able to enjoy the show,” he said.
Mr. Breau also boasted that the sets, lights and costumes are “spectacular.” The wooden sets that were designed for the flamenco dance will be shipped to Korea. The male characters duel with real swords ― actors have been injured during rehearsals.
Ms. Janvier said that her favorite number is “Je Pense a Lui,” which she sings while thinking of Don Juan, while Mr. Breau said his favorite is “Ie Meure d’Amour,” the last of Don Juan’s songs.
The soundtrack of the musical has so far sold more than 400,000 copies in Canada and more than 100,000 in France.

by Park Sung-ha

“Don Juan” will run at the Opera House in the Seoul Arts Center from Nov. 30 to Dec. 17. Shows start at 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on weekends. There are no shows on Mondays.
Ticket prices range from 40,000 won ($42) to 150,000 won. For more information, call (02) 501-1377.
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