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CREATIVE COLLABORATION (INTERNATIONAL)

DON JEFFREY

A New USA-AUS Co-Production

CREATIVE DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP: JUNE 2024 (NYC)

Creative Concept
LINDA THOMPSON [AUS]
Direction & Design
LUKE LEONARD Monk Parrots [USA]

A reworking of Mozart/Da Ponte's Don Giovanni for the 21st Century

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1630 - 2024

DON JEFFREY is a reworking of a story audiences have cheered and celebrated since c. 1630. 

 

A tale of a legendary, fictional libertine who devotes his life to seducing and abusing women of all ages - but with a particular penchant for "la piccina" - the little girl. 

 

No musical version is more beloved than Mozart and Da Ponte's opera DON GIOVANNI, which employs a cast of relatable characters ranging from enablers to victims. 

 

If, as is claimed, art mirrors society and changes lives, the repeated success of the opera Don Giovanni over 2 ½ centuries, let alone the story itself over 4 centuries, does not bear that out.

Following the recent conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell, accomplice to Jeffrey Epstein in the procurement of young women for sexual exploitation, we give Mozart's sublime melodies and harmonies another layer of narrative - all the more sinister, familiar and terrible as the women who are misled and mistreated on stage, and some of the alleged perpetrators, are recognisable to us - they live amongst us.  Some even 'rule' over us. 

 

How can we continue to appreciate a composition of such beauty and emotion, which tells a tale of devastating abuse?

 

MONK PARROTS, led by artistic director Luke Leonard and based in NYC, is ACOCO's principal international collaborator, having worked worked with ACOCO on David Lang & Mac Wellman's the difficulty of crossing a field, a reimagining of Verdi's MACBETH arr. by US composer Peter Stopchinski, and David Lang's love fail - as a remote digital collaboration for both ACOCO's 2020 online Festival, and live performance at Fed Square in 2021.

LINDA THOMPSON, Artistic Director:

Our DON JEFFREY is bound to ruffle feathers - a retelling of a beloved story through an uncomfortable contemporary lens.  This is not some story stuck in the past; a rollocking tale of 'bad behaviour' absolved by sublime music.  Acts of depravity brushed off as 'historical', and therefore 'not real'.

This story is - and has always been - shockingly contemporary. 

 

Why is criminal behaviour towards children repeatedly overlooked? One only needs to look at a 13 year old supposedly giving "ostensible consent" as a mitigating factor in law, conviction and sentencing in Victoria, Australia to see we have a deeply ingrained problem. [understatement...]

 

A 400-year history of repeated performance has shown that a story, music, theatre or opera hasn't changed attitudes.  The music may be beautiful, but the opera is not a mindless entertainment - it is a tale of systematic societal enabling of abuse of power, and glorification of depravity - at heart it is a centuries-old accusation of those who see and choose to look the other way."

HELP US DRIVE OUR MESSAGE FURTHER:

JOIN OUR INTERNATIONAL (USA-AUS) DONOR CIRCLE TODAY:

(Tax-deductible)

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Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

 

- President Barack Obama

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