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Vytautas Juozapaitis

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Bad boys have long fascinated audiences as well as storytellers, whatever the medium. Such rebels, often without causes beyond self-gratification, have been at the center of much of contemporary popular culture. One of the paradigms for such dramatized morality tales is Mozart's magnificent "Don Giovanni," whose musical and theatrical turns evoked awe and laughter and terror from the more that 1,500 music fans who on Saturday night flocked to Lawrence's Lied Center for the Mozart Festival Opera production. The libertine is thoroughly disreputable. Nonetheless, we look on in fascination because of his devilish smile, dashing good looks, ready wit, and the audacity of his hyper-inflated ego. If you can imagine a young Jack Nicholson with mustache, cape and a flair for sword play, you've got it. Lithuanian baritone Vytautas Juozapaitis gave the Don appropriate swagger and voice. He also brought a comic twist that gave the roué a touch of the trickster. Stepping out of character for a second in the midst of a briskly paced recitative, he paused, turned, and looked up at the supertitled English translation as if to check his lines. It was a joke shared by all. The pleasure of performing, even in the opera's most dramatic moments, was evident.
Chuck Berg, "Mozart's 'Don Giovanni' triumphs", Topeka Capital Journal (February, 2007)

Vytautas Juozapaitis

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