The bad news: The Don Giovanni we witnessed last weekend seemed too big a task for the Merola program. Sure, the singing was stellar. And Donna Anna, Leporello, and the Don himself were admirably cast. But the cringe-inducing stage direction, as well as the evening's lackluster orchestra, would not let us enjoy the opera. Bummer.

The good news? Mozart stands up well to mistreatment, and the next Merola concert, the Grand Finale of the summer program, will showcase vocalists with showpieces with no aforementioned staging. (Happens on Saturday, August 16.)

Picture of Austin Kness (right) and Ben Wager, by Kirsten Locken/SF Opera