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French musical makes Don Juan fall in love

By Wang Xin in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-02-06 09:11

Performers of the French musical Don Juan meet the audience after the performance at Shanghai Culture Square late last month.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Don Juan, one of the most popular French musicals, made its China debut on Jan 25 in Shanghai and will visit six other cities this year, the 20th anniversary of its premiere.

Written by French composer Felix Gray in 2003 and brought to the stage in 2004 by director Gilles Maheu, who also directed musical Notre Dame de Paris, this celebrated musical has been staged with great success in France, Canada and South Korea. In 2016, a Japanese version was staged by the Takarazuka Revue. Over the past two decades, it has been seen by 600,000 people around the world.

Don Juan is the legendary libertine and seducer of Spanish folklore, an aristocratic playboy known for his flirtatious behavior. Over the centuries, around 1,000 works of art have been made about him in forms ranging from poetry, to music and films, turning the fictional character into an icon of Western culture.

In 2003, Gray drew on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera Don Giovanni and Tirso de Molina's The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest for his adaptation of the classic storyline.

Unlike most artistic works about Don Juan, the musical is a more modern interpretation of the character, and presents his story from a more human perspective.

Another highlight that differentiates the musical from other works about Don Juan is that the legendary seducer loses his heart.

"In the musical, Don Juan falls in love. Love becomes his biggest punishment, as he has broken the hearts of so many women, and then finds a love that borders on madness," Gray said during an event following the musical's Shanghai premiere, adding that this particular twist to the well-known tale is unique.

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