Tony- and Oscar-Winning Director Sam Mendes to Make Opera Debut at Glyndebourne

Classic Arts News   Tony- and Oscar-Winning Director Sam Mendes to Make Opera Debut at Glyndebourne
 
Sam Mendes, who directed the renowned 1998 Broadway revival of Cabaret and the Oscar-winning film American Beauty, will stage his first opera production, of Mozart's Don Giovanni, in 2010 at England's Glyndebourne Festival.

Speaking to The Guardian newspaper, Glyndebourne general director David Pickard said that he has met Mendes once a year for the past five years to discuss possible projects at the famous opera festival south of London. The idea to do Don Giovanni came from Glyndebourne, though Mendes is said to be "intrigued and fascinated" by the opera.

Glyndebourne music director Vladimir Jurowski will conduct the Mozart score; preliminary casting includes baritone Gerard Finley in the title role and soprano Kate Royal as Donna Elvira, according to The Guardian.

Mendes first came to prominence as artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse in London, where his first production, in 1992, was the British premiere of Sondheim's Assassins. His musical theater successes also include Donmar productions of Sondheim's Company, for which he won an Olivier Award, and Kander and Ebb's Cabaret. That production went on to win four 1998 Tony Awards and led to Mendes directing Kevin Spacey in the film American Beauty, for which Mendes won an Academy Award.

That same Glyndebourne season, 2010, will feature the operatic debut of the Donmar's current artistic director. Michael Grandage, who succeeded Mendes in 2002, will stage a production of Britten's Billy Budd.

Grandage's current high-profile production at the Donmar is of Shakespeare's Othello, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor in the title role and Ewan McGregor as Iago.

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