The lively "In" Series adaptation of Mozart's greatest opera, now playing at the Source Theatre, is titled "Don Giovanni (of Long Island)." It might with equal justice have been titled "Mozart Meets the Sopranos." In this updated version, Don Giovanni is a mobster who kills "the old Don" after sexually assaulting his daughter, and hides out in a motel.
The scenery is simply four beds, representing different motel rooms. The clever English translation by L.B. Hamilton uses spoken dialogue rather than recitatives and tosses in occasional bits of Italian for flavor. One aria is sung into a cell phone, and another is sung in Italian -- the lovely Serenade, with music director Frank Conlon's piano giving a good imitation of the obbligato mandolin. The banquet in Act 2 is made up of junk food. The text is slightly abbreviated, omitting the arias "Dalla sua pace" and "Vedrai carino."
The action, under the often brilliant direction of Joe Banno, includes a lot of disrobing and gun-brandishing, and a small twist is added to the plot to justify the substitution of a live human for the walking statue in the last scene. The "orchestra" consists of two violins and various keyboards.
Amid all these adaptations, Mozart's music not only thrives, it flourishes, aided by a fine array of fresh, young, well-trained voices that show only the slightest strain on a few high notes. Most of the singers are repeating their roles from last year's premiere production, but two of the best performances are given by newcomers. Ole Hass is a stalwart Ottavio with a fine light tenor voice. Sarah Wolfson as a sexy, sympathetic Zerlina produces the evening's most show-stopping moment when she rips off her wedding gown at the climax of "La ci darem."
Returning from last year's production and giving even more satisfactory performances are Rebecca Ocampo, a tormented Donna Anna; Grace Gori, a statuesque Elvira, driven by anger but haunted by ambivalence; Bob McDonald, a sex-obsessed Giovanni; Terry N. Eberhardt, a witty Leporello with perhaps the best voice and diction in the show; Trevor Scheuneman, a disgruntled Masetto; and Jed Collard, properly spooky as the murdered capo.
The show runs through Jan. 20.