Infamous womanizer takes to Seoul stageDon Juan, as the fictional counterpart to history’s Casanova, is one of literature’s most infamous womanizers. But for fans who wish to see the more sensitive side of Don Juan, for those who crave true love, a musical named after him is currently playing at the Opera House of the Seoul Art Center in Gangnam, southern Seoul.
The musical is being staged in Korea as part of celebrations of 120 years of diplomatic relations between Korea and France.
The cast and crew are made up of French and Canadian performers and it is their first time to perform in Asia.
The musical was created in 2003 and debuted on the stage of the St. Denis theatre in Montreal, Canada, in February 2004.
Other French musicals that have been shown in Korea, such as “Notre Dame de Paris,” which was the first French musical to be shown here, and “Les Dix Commandements,” are more serious than most American and British musicals. “Don Juan” is similar in the sense that the title character takes his emotions very seriously.
The musical includes 41 songs during the two-hour show, including “Changer,” a duet belted out by Don Juan and his true love Maria on how each other’s existence has stirred changes in the other’s heart and mind.
“Les Anges,” or “The Angels,” is sung by Maria, Don Juan’s fiancee Elvira, and his friend Isabel, praying for Don Juan and Raphael, Maria’s fiance, who are about to fight a duel.
The three women dressed in black robes look like angels of death as they sing.
Flamenco dance is also a main part of the production, appearing frequently in bar scenes, before a duel and even in the finale as the production team tries to bring old Spain to the stage.
Instead of the traditional Spanish gypsy flamenco that the world knows well, the flamenco featured in Don Juan was modified by the French composer and writer of the show, Felix Gray, who added the sensitivity of French culture to the passionate Spanish dance. To make the musical more Spanish, the Latin band Los Amigos appears and performs on stage.
The producer of “Don Juan” is Gilles Maheu, who also produced “Notre Dame de Paris.” For “Notre Dame” Mr. Maheu received the best musical award in Paris in 1999.
The synopsis of the musical is that Don Juan, despite warnings from close friends and family, including Don Carlos, Isabel and Don Luis, his father, takes pleasure only in seducing and conquering women. One day after seducing the daughter of a respected knight, he ends up dueling with the knight and killing him.
The knight’s ghost, in the form of a statue, places a curse on Don Juan, saying it will be love that will bring him to his death.
It is about this time that he meets Maria and falls in love with her. The rest of the story is unfortunately rather predictable.
The show will run until Saturday this week.
by Lee Ho-jeong