When Bonnie Bogovich and Liz Rishel worked with the rest of the Super Smash Opera team to re-write the words to classic opera, the last thing they were expecting was to be approached by the artistic director of an established opera company to ask them to do it all over again. But that’s exactly what happened when Mary Beth Sederburg, Artistic Director of Undercroft Opera, asked them to help her realize her dream- to merge one of her favorite Mozart operas, Don Giovanni, with one of her favorite stories, Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
“Can we get carried away with the theme?” Yes. “Can we draw parallels to specific characters?” Yes. “Can we have a whole aria about blood?” Sure. Why not…..
So for several weeks, Bonnie Bogovich and Liz Rishel joined forces with Gwen Schmidt, Michael Greenstein and Mary Beth Sederburg to conceptualize a new angle for Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The team met three days a week to re-write the whole show and process the two together. This involved translating the original Italian, consulting different translation sources, infusing Dracula elements and characters inspired by the novel, and designing all the rhyme schemes to fall where they must. Liz Rishel hand-wrote the libretto, and Sean Donaldson assisted in re-typing all the words so the cast could study a more legible version.
Then began rehearsals with Liz Rishel playing “Zerlina” (inspired by Lucy from the novel), and Bonnie Bogovich doning some fangs as one of Giovanni’s “Vampire Brides.” Jordan Speranzo (“Star Fox” in Super Smash Opera’s Pittsburgh Performances) is also in the ensemble.
After a long process, from re-writes through rehearsals, the show opens TONIGHT at The Antonian Theater on Carlow University’s campus in Pittsburgh. If you want to catch Liz as Zerlina (a role she shares with another singer), she performs on SATURDAY, MAY 28th at 8 pm and SUNDAY, MAY 29th at 2 pm.
But there’s more:
Bonnie is covering Liz as “Zerlina” and Jordan is covering “Don Giovanni” and they will be performing highlights from the show at a Covers Concert on SATURDAY, MAY 28th at 1 pm.
Bonnie Bogovich and Liz Rishel are proud of their involvement with this project, and are gratified to see new spins on traditional opera taking over in Pittsburgh! …The hardest part will be to not imagine JigglyPuff cutting in with Puccini at the climax of the show. 😉