John Malkovich is an actor who is probably best known for, you know, Being John Malkovich. That critically acclaimed film, with a plot that centered around people crawling into the actor’s brain and experiencing the world through his eyes, was a little weird, to say the least. But Malkovich’s new project, The Giacomo Variations, might give Being John Malkovich a run for its money. The musical theater piece combines the life story of the famous lothario, Giacaomo Casanova, with music from three of Mozart’s greatest operas, including Don Giovanni, which was said to have been based on Casanova’s life.
John Malkovich, on defining The Giacomo Variations:
It’s sometimes called a chamber opera, but it’s really kind of musical theater. All of the music is from three of Mozart’s great operas: Don Giovanni, Cosi Fan Tutte, and The Marriage of Figaro. But there’s a lot of theater in it also.
On his musical background and singing opera in The Giacomo Variations:
[I sang growing up], from chorus to madrigals to a rock band to folk music, etc. Then I didn’t sing for many, many years — probably only in the three or four years when my kids were very small. They liked me to sing and play the guitar. But that was twenty years ago, and I hadn’t touched it since.
On Casanova’s own possible involvement (and reality-show-esque drama) with Don Giovanni:
Casanova was there when Don Giovanni opened, and Don Giovanni was quite a disaster when it opened. They had to take it off. There are people, in fact there are even books about it, who believed that Casanova is the one who re-wrote it. Of course, he was a friend — or frenemy — of [librettist, Lorenzo] Da Ponte.
The Giacomo Variations will be performed at City Center from May 30 to June 2 as part of the Cherry Orchard Festival.