There was some ominous thunder during the second act, but the libertine finally got his just deserts in the first complete performance of the Wolf Trap Opera Company’s new production of “Don Giovanni” on Tuesday night. The weekend’s violent storm canceled the first two performances, but the power was back on for this updated staging, heavy on video effects. The company’s repertoire has been mostly full of surprises in recent seasons, perhaps justifying a return to this audience favorite, last produced at the Barns in 2005.
Wolf Trap continues to field remarkable talent in its young singers, beginning with the powerful baritone of Craig Irvin, who as Leporello outshone the Don Giovanni of colleague Ryan Kuster, less burnished in the serenade “Deh vieni alla finestra.” The original casting idea, noted in publicity materials, was that Kuster and Irvin would learn both parts and switch back and forth on alternate nights of the run. Interchangeability is a theme in the Mozart-Da Ponte operas — think of Susanna and the Countess in “Figaro” and all of “Cosi” — and some of the best comedy in “Don Giovanni” results from the two men switching identities in the second act. The idea was abandoned about three weeks away from opening night, probably for the best since most audience members would not have been able to appreciate the amount of work that went into it.