REVIEW: Opera Buffa, Ridehuset

During the ILT13 festival, two theater companies from Belgium are visiting Aarhus with a remade version of W.A. Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni – the opera of operas. Opera Buffa takes theater experience to a higher level.

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The production companies Laika and Muziektheater Transparant from Belgium performs Opera Buffa in Ridehuset. The story about Don Giovanni and his women now takes place in a restaurant where Don Giovanni is head chef, Leporello is a waiter, and Donna Elvira becomes a waitress. And the audience is the guests in their restaurant. An evening in festive surroundings.

Photo: Phile Deprez
Photo: Phile Deprez

Leporello – the loyal waiter of Don Giovanni – is funny and inspires confidence, not only to the audience but also as an actor to the libretto. Benny Ceuppens performs his Leporello wonderfully. He and Masetto is the comical partnership of the play. They make hilarious moments of high speed comedy and physical commedia dell’arte gags.

Laika and Muziektheater Transparant has adapted and remade this classic and highly recognized Mozart opera. Which is courageous. The main parts of the Don Giovanni story did survive, but some parts disappeared between pots, plates, and tomatoes. Would anyone be missing those parts? Some might.

The final scene in the play is great though. Have you ever seen chocolate being blood? Have you ever seen three waitresses execute a master chef? Have you ever tasted an evil dessert. Opera Buffa connects the comic and the tragic parts into this final act: ‘The execution at the chocolate heater’.

Photo: Phile Deprez
Photo: Phile Deprez

Overall this is a great theater experience. The actors are everywhere around you. Be a part of the opera. Talk to strangers at the tables. Drink the ginger lemonade. Have a fantastic evening. As long as you don’t expect a redefinition of the Don Giovanni, and as long as you don’t expect to have a Mozart experience; Join the feast!


Concept and direction: Peter de Bie and Jo Roets | Music: Jan van Outryve (after W.A. Mozart) | Adaptation of libretto: Jo Roets and Greet Vissers | Actors/singers: Benny Ceuppens, Koen Janssen, Laurie Janssens, Astrid Stockman, Jokke Martens, and Marnie ZschöcknerMusicians: Wietse Beels, Pieter van Buyten, and Niels Verheest | Costumes: Manuela Lauwers | Sound and lighting: Anton van Haver

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