Recording to Feature a 12-Piece Rock Orchestra and Broadway Singers in
Modern Translation of the World’s Greatest Opera
Adam Levowitz, a classically trained composer with nearly 40 years of experience creating music for theater, opera, musicals, and ballet, releases a rock version of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” the world’s greatest opera on January 27, 2022, to commemorate the 266th birthday of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
But this is no garage band version of the classic Mozart masterpiece. Levowitz’s primary mission while creating the work, and his directive to the performers, has been, “Mozart First.”
“I’m not touching Mozart’s melodies, harmonies or rhythms. The exquisite score is the same. The arias are the same. But instead of using Mozart’s orchestra, I’m using a rock orchestra, two electric guitars, bass guitar, drums, keyboard, and four trumpets,” said Levowitz, who created the orchestrations.
The 45-minute concept album of the “Don Giovanni Rock Opera” will cover all the key plot points from “Don Giovanni,” from the overture through Leporello’s famous catalog aria, now called “The Almanac of Fornication” to a few of Mozart’s most famous seduction arias in the middle, and then the thrilling, and in its day, daring finale, giving new listeners a complete story to enjoy.
Levowitz said his orchestration also includes the very same three trombones that Mozart so infamously used in the iconic graveyard scene and again when the “Stone Guest” arrives at Don Giovanni’s house for dinner.
“The opera has been performed non-stop since it came out and directors are always trying to retell it visually. I decided to give the characters new words to say in English with a modern translation that is relatable and, hopefully, good theatre,” Levowitz said.
Past translations of “Don Giovanni” were meant to be read and not sung. Levowitz said because his version is in English, audiences will not be distracted by supertitles during performances and that it will be easier to understand the motivations of the characters because it will be sung in their native language (when performed in English-speaking countries).
While Levowitz’s new translations are very true to the original, he does replace the repetitious Italian with new English text so that audiences learn more about the people around Giovanni, specifically his servant Leporello,
In addition, his “Don Giovanni” addresses social issues of the 21st century but is also laugh out loud funny.
Nearly 240 years later, while “Don Giovanni” is still widely performed, the audience for operas is shrinking. Levowitz is trying to build a new audience of opera lovers. “All I’ve done is put ‘Don Giovanni’ in a language that people can understand and trade a few violins for some electric guitars and if he were alive I am sure he would dig it.”
Playing on the recording will be the Adam Levowitz Rock Orchestra, comprised of some of the best and busiest professional musicians in New York.
In October, the group spent five days at John Kilgore Sound and Recording in New York City with John Kilgore, a two-time Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated recording engineer and sound designer. The album was then mixed at multiple Grammy winner and nominee Bob Dawson of Bias Studios in Springfield, Virginia.
While Levowitz hopes his version of “Don Giovanni” will resonate with new audiences and, as he said, “make opera cool again,” he realizes the recording may ruffle the feathers of purists.
“I know that there are some people who will hate what I am I doing. I am okay with that. Mozart wrote music for the masses of his day to enjoy. He was a rock star and I think he would want his music to be as accessible today as it was during his lifetime,” Levowitz said.
For information about the “Don Giovanni Rock Opera” and to hear some of the orchestrations in a video clip, visit www.DGRocks.com.
For more information about Adam Levowitz, visit adamlevowitz.com.
The Don Giovanni Rock Opera can be followed on Facebook at @DonGiovanniRocks.