Some see the production, which features generous helpings of sex, drugs, and alcohol, as a cause for the English National Opera's subsequent financial troubles and changes in leadership, especially in combination with the Bieito's equally provocative 2002 production of Verdi's A Masked Ball.
One critic called Don Giovanni a "new nadir in the vulgar abuse of a masterpiece," the Guardian says; another said simply that it was "a horrendous evening." More recently, Oliver Kamm wrote in the Times of London, "I should sooner poke my eyes out and sell my children into slavery that sit through it again."
David Parry, who will conduct the opera, defends the production. "This Don Giovanni is very, very raw," he told the Guardian. "It is sometimes dramaturgically wayward‹but that's fine; it is trying to portray what the opera is really about. It can disturb people who know the opera well. Somehow they prefer something that draws a veil over the deep issues."
The ENO's Don Giovanno opens tomorrow, and runs through November 5.