Despite the repressive Catholicism of 17th-century inquisitorial Spain, members of the nobility felt free to commit any number of crimes, believing that their status granted them total impunity. One priest, Tirso de Molina, took it upon himself to educate these 'sinners' by writing The libertine of Seville.
In the original Don Giovanni, the story’s protagonist is condemned to eternal damnation by the divine order. Obviously, society has evolved over the past 300 years. So why mount Don Giovanni today? Because the existence of God, the belief in good and evil, and the notion of taking personal responsibility for one’s actions remain hot topics of debate.
In this production, I tried to inject the character of Don Giovanni with a slightly different identity, one that goes beyond his status as a nobleman. Don Giovanni is a man who has achieved a level of popularity such that nothing is forbidden to him. In this sense, I see Don Giovanni as a matador.
Matadors are bona fide celebrities – they regularly make headlines and are applauded and adored by fans. Their prideful attitude is reflective of Don Giovanni’s hubris: matadors defy death, Don Giovanni defies God. Both put their narcissism on full display and it becomes an integral part of their 'performance'. One can easily find parallels between the drama of the bullring and Da Ponte’s storyline. In the corrida, the matador’s colourful costume and cape are an unabashed celebration of light, in stark contrast to the black body of his bovine nemesis. In Don Giovanni, the main character burns brightly in a truthful orgy of earthly pleasures, only to be brought down by hellfire and damnation in accordance with Judeo-Christian tradition.
We find ourselves in Seville, a city where bullfighting remains a vibrant part of daily life. In tapping into the metaphor of the bullring, I wish to avoid the usual cultural stereotypes; the work is far too deep and its topic universal.
— Oriol Tomas